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The speed of sustainability

Most modern tech already has its own scale problem— Too much scalability.

Allegra Raff

Sep 20, 2023

I think lack of scale itself is a key and under-recognized aspect of sustainability.

The scale "problem" is less of a problem when you accept that a sustainable world involves changing our habits. As Gabriela Aoun Angueira at ​Grist put it, “…one of the most effective personal climate solutions we have at our disposal is just slowing down.”

Most modern tech already has its own scale problem— Too much scalability.

I love how succinctly economist E.F. Schumacher said it, way back in 1973:

“The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person.” (From Small is Beautiful.)

Clothing is essentially a low-tech endeavor.

The technology of making clothes (whacking plants to collect their fiber, twisting it into thread, mashing the thread together in various ways…) has been around for tens of thousands of years.

"So why do we need to pay more for clothes?" you (might) ask, since I've declared the work both low-tech and widespread.

Because we need to pay the maker to be a conduit for that technology. Low as it is. (Unused technology, even the simplest, is, well…useless.)

You're paying the maker (in this case, me), in stead of the most common alternative, which is to pay an entity that exploits its (many, many) "workers"/makers—entire communities and ecosystems, actually—and redistributes the proceeds upwards.* Into many fewer hands.

I don't think that alternative works out so well. It doesn't work out so well for any of us.

*unless you buy/trade used, in which case, bless you!

^^ ALL OF THIS STANDS, WITH OR WITHOUT MY BUSINESS. ^^ But Raff Co. Clothing is how I put this low tech, small scale, anti-exploitation philosophy into action.

SO IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE… Here's what I can offer you, you beautiful human!

+ To do what I can to make participating in a “pre-industrial” clothing model appealing and—crucially!—possible.

+ To make strong, beautiful, reliable, biodegradable clothes for YOU: as in, to fit your unique measurements and with your inout on the details.

+ To make them to order—i.e., without surplus.

+ To involve you in the process. My ears are open. <3



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