In the Toaster Project, Thomas Thwaites took a toaster, bought for less than £5, and tried to remake it from basic raw materials. By trying to refine iron to make the element and mould recycled plastic to make the case, he demonstrated how fantastic our materials science and manufacturing expertise has become that we now take these products entirely for granted. He showed how totally disassociated we have become from the supply chain and impacts of our consumption. When you see him spending nearly a day burning LPG to try and reduce iron ore to iron with little success, the reality of embodied energy and the successful efforts of industry to increase energy efficiency become very much more real.
I am sure that the complete change of mindset required to “become a goat” will generate ideas which will stimulate innovative thinkers and designers like Thomas for many years to come. I look forward to reading his book, ‘Goatman: How I took a holiday from being human’.
Thinking outside the box in this way is a skill which should be nurtured.
Author: Jane Anderson
An expert in Life Cycle Assessment for the Construction industry
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