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19 January 2010

GOOD's Slow Issue

GOOD Magazine - The Slow Issue

Q&A with Aubrey de Grey.

GOOD discusses building things that last with Saul Griffith. He's spoken at TED a few times; short and long.

Architecture that forces you to be more active. This is something that I think about fairly often. Our society is so ridiculously good at removing all physical activity from our daily lives; we don't have to scrub our clothes, climbing stairs is done by escalators and elevators, our walk or bike to work is easily done by train and car, etcetera. It's so hard to find physical activity that we design special buildings where we go to run in place and lift heavy objects for no real purpose. It's kind of hilarious and sad at the same time.

Interesting take on investing locally from GOOD. They promote investing locally in socially responsible businesses and being involved with local agriculture which according to them generally comes with a steadier 4-5% interest rate. Hm. Study after study has shown locavorism (eating locally) to be worse off for the environment. Not that I'm entirely against it, just that I think people go a bit too far in requiring all their food be sourced locally. The reality is that our food delivery system is just incredibly efficient and the energy involved in transporting food makes up a really small percentage of the total energy needed to create that food. I do support investing in a socially responsible way, but that's a tricky one. It could probably be reasonably argued that the higher interest rate that most people expect (7-9% as opposed to 4-5%) is just a negative externality being shoved off on someone/thing else that you are then capturing. So really isn't the solution to change laws regarding negative externalities? Basically you're getting left in the dust by those that are willing to play the grey area. And of course it's not that simple, but usually doing the right thing pays off. Who gets the benefits is the question and my argument is that it should go to those doing the right thing.

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