Thursday, 15 July 2010
Can Karma save us?
A friend of mine recently pointed me in the direction of the Starbucks Sponsored Betacup competition , held earlier this summer (promo video above) in a move to find a solution to the billions of disposable cups used by the coffee industry each year. Amongst some of the 400+ inventive and high concept designs that focused on sustainable production materials, such as the air and the coconut cups, the one idea that really caught the judges attention was a little more simple, and therein lies it's genius.
The Karma Cup, by a Boston based design group, is unashamedly low tech, yet far reaching in its concept. The idea being that people bring their own re-usable mugs to the coffee shop, and for each one presented a mark is made on a till side chalk board, tallying up in rows of ten. When this number is achieved, the next person to bring their own cup, is rewarded with a free cuppa. It's a simple idea, that requires a little bit of self sacrifice for the prospect of future gain.
It got me thinking about environmentalism on the whole, how the changes we choose to implement now, the life style adjustments, the sacrifices we make, are often not for ourselves, but for future generations. It is perhaps no accident that many of the parents I have spoken to find themselves 'born again' greens when they have kids. Don't get me wrong, there are of course some fantastic childless eco warriors out there (probably even more productive than those of us who have children ties), and not every parent is green thinking, but for some, the idea that one is investing in the planet for the sake of our children is a lot more real when you actually have children.
To quote what Internet amigo Superdan said when asked about Eco issues (admittedly in jest) "I don't have kids so I couldn't give a monkey'". But there is also many a truth said in jest, and perhaps there is a general feeling that you don't really think about these things as much until you have a vested interest, be it family or employment.
Hopefully the Karma cup will be championed by the likes of Starbucks in the future, while notion of Eco-Karma can appeal to those who's vested interests lie elsewhere, or at least to those who are partial to the occasional free cup of coffee.