As winter gives way to spring, and eventually summer, let’s reflect on how nature affects us all, and conversely, how we affect it.
The snow is melting, and the sun is getting stronger, and it’s time to enjoy the outdoors, maybe go camping – but what about all the equipment to setup camp? Should we buy it all?
Let’s just take a look at the life cycle of a tent.
A tent is a simple structure made up of fabric and tent poles. In the old days, tents would probably be propped up by rope made from vegetable fibres such as hemp, and cloth made from felt, or wool or animal skin. All of this would be probably available from an area of 100 sq. km around where the tent would be setup. The downside is that it took more time, labour and energy to produce such materials due to the lack of industrial manufacturing facilities and technology.
The modern tent is an entirely different animal. The tent poles are made of metal, and if it’s a better quality tent, the poles will be made of aluminium. The fabric of the tent, can comprise of more than 10 different type of material, from polyester to high grade kevlar thread.
To simplify the process for making the tent poles:
- Metal needs to be mined out of the ground. During this process, if mining is done irresponsibly, run-off from toxic metals and chemicals used to extract the metal ore can pollute groundwater and affect local communities. Over time, this run-off will eventually seep into the water table, the underground reservoir of water, which farmers as well as surrounding communities also access for drinking and to water their crops.
- The metal ore then needs to be smelted. Done properly, air pollution is reduced to a minimum and metal is extracted efficiently from the ore. If the smelter is using polluting fuels to heat the smelter, air pollution occurs, as well as vast emissions of greenhouse gases. Most modern smelters and plants these days use induction heating, which sounds high tech but is surprisingly easy and simple to implement with magnets and electric currents.
- After the metal is processed, it is then sent to a factory to be manufactured and made into tent poles, shipped with the tent, and then sold to you.
As for the fabric of the tent – most plastics and plastic based threads such as polyester, the most common material found in tent fabrics, are petroleum based products. The petroleum industry isn’t evil per-se, but it does have a bad track record of polluting the earth when it comes to drilling and pumping oil out of the ground, as well as transporting it.
The fact stands that for a simple thing like a tent, so much carbon emissions are produced in its production alone, not to mention the transportation, as well as the sales and advertising materials needed to market it to everyone.
When used for just one or two summers and then kept on the top shelf of the storage room, it’s value is wasted, and there are double carbon outputs when you throw it away after a few years maybe because a chipmunk chewed a hole in it to get to your food.
Most tents are kept for 10 years and are used 3-4 times during this time – and then thrown away. On average, you could use a tent for over 100 times before it’s beyond repairs.
Think about that for a moment – all that effort, all that labour and Earth’s resources going to waste.
You can spread that cost of carbon emissions through sharing!
And you will create goodwill amongst your friends and colleagues through the very same act of sharing, and they could share their stuff with you too!
Today this is possible and very convenient, just by using apps like Lendogram! Your friends borrow your stuff, you borrow theirs. You save the earth, and so do they, and everyone saves money!
Of course, if you’re not an outdoors person, this can apply to other things too! Lendogram isn’t just about tents! Dresses, jewellery, video games, toys, books, and even air mattresses for your house guest, you can share all these and more with your friends and family!
Save the earth – one share at a time!