THINGS AND WHERE THEY COME FROM: that’s the sustainability context. It must be the case for both products AND processes to be situated within the closed-loop. When we talk about a car or a house being green or not, the conversations usually revolve around outputs – that is, quantifying the carbon emissions of a product over its lifetime.
But inputs must be considered. We cannot get an accurate picture of the product’s sustainability if we leave out the very beginning of that lifetime, i.e., the energy and materials required to produce it in the first place. This gets abstracted pretty quickly, though the ability to recognize something in its basic form, and relatedly, its point of origin, is a trait we strongly retain – and by its light hold firm to the right to reject certain things. We have greatly suspended it, as we easily purchase items at w*lmart or wherever without any regard for where they came from. But at the same time we (effortlessly) cast off academic-speak or haughty rationales like they don’t belong in our world. And some of them might not – but neither do many of the products we invite into our homes, some for quite lengthy stays, without any regard for the processes that brought them into being.
This is what Green means – getting acquainted with both outputs AND inputs. How much water and gasoline is required to produce a glass of orange juice?