The first decade of the new millennium is ancient history. As is the first year of the second decade. And in that time, I think Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall! And now we are all standing there scratching our heads trying to figure out how to put him back together.
But I have the feeling that we are not going to be any more successful at it than all the king's horses and men were. Things are not going to get fixed. They have to be changed. We need a whole new way of thinking or maybe an old way, but a different way for certain.
I believe we need to stop thinking about growth and start thinking about sustainability. The idea that you buy a house, immediately rip out everything in it, toss it all in the dumpster and bring in all new stuff, is an idea that will never again be viable. One thing this economic situation we are in now has revealed is that we simply do not have the resources to continue in that manner.
We are used to thinking that a set of cabinets only needs to last five years because that's how long people typically stay in a house and we assume that the new owners are going to want to remodel before they move in. We need to start thinking about cabinets (not to mention houses!) that will last 50 or 100 years. And there is no reason they should not. Of course, such cabinets will be more expensive but they will also be made better and of better quality materials.
I have an option to offer. We make everything out of particleboard. Mechanical systems are all snap-in modules that can be easily removed. Then every five years or so, we snap them out, scrape up the deteriorating particleboard and ship it off the China where it is reprocessed into new material. They ship it back and we build new houses out of it and snap the mechanicals back in. How's that for sustainable?