He he, I hope you liked the title….. but this article isn’t all jokes (thank god, I am pretty awful at them!)
I was particularly touched this morning by the ingenuity displayed in the video below.
The kids wanted a soccer ball, so they used the materials to hand to get exactly what they wanted. And it wasn’t a half arsed soccer ball either. To my well trained English eye, it looked like it played pretty darn well.
I wasn’t touched because it surprised me that a poor African kid could think up clever ideas and make good use of what he had to hand, not at all. In fact I really think we should be looking to places where resources are thin to see how people in desperate situations get by. Muhammed Yunus says in his book “Banker to the Poor” (paraphrasing here) that the poor don’t need to be taught how to do things, they already know how. In many cases they may even be doing things better than us, out of pure necessity.
In the case of this condom soccer ball, the boy didn’t invent the idea of the ball but he did find a new way to make the same thing. On my recent visit to Garbage City in Cairo I learned how the poor here are creating new and exciting ways to recycle and reuse almost anything, these people are doing the jobs of highly paid executives out of pure need. Their ingenuity may well unmatched in this field! Thinking back to the rations during WWII, UK and USA housewives (and I am sure the rest of the world too) invented many many ways to create common meals using less and more common ingredients. They worked out replacements and just got the job done!
Due to the recent recession a wave of ingenuity, when it comes to saving money, has been spreading. This ties in well with the green movement and creating many money saving eco-friendly alternatives to commercially pushed solutions to all kinds of problems from things like cooking copycat restaurant meals at home to city roof top gardens and more.
We should be proud of what we can achieve in hard times, human ingenuity never ceases to amaze!
According to the markets, the media and many bloggers it looks like this recession may be on the way out. Soon we will all be relaxing again in comfortable well paid jobs, buying shoes, eating at pricey restaurants. The recent history may well be forgotten. When people prosper it could be argued that ingenuity wanes. We leave the advancements up to scientists and executive think tanks as consumerism and relying on being fed information (and believing it) becomes the norm again. Rich societies rarely have revolutions and strong widespread political movements (unless religion is the motivation!). I could foresee a possibility that the green movement would loose much of it’s grass roots and become a consumer lead only trend, if money is no longer tight!
So when this recession ends and money is no longer tight, how and why do we keep up our creativity and resourcefulness?
Firstly I think there has to be an attitude change. There is quite a split between financial and frugal bloggers and I hope you all chime into this conversation, but I really think consumerism is killing our soul and our beautiful planet. If we just use less resources (money and physical resources) then the times between economical collapses will be lengthened and the gap between rich and poor will be shrunk.
We need to pull back and start doing things ourselves, or amongst our communities, this applies to the rich and poor! For example, why buy a skirt for $300 from a designer store when you could buy the material and pay a tailor to create something original for much less? Small actions like this could help to fuel local economies and keep money and resources rotating in a more sustainable fashion. If everyone in the community specialised in one type of vegetable or fruit, then a veg swap could be arranged and many families would be fed for practically nothing. I know the farmers lose out in this deal, but other options such as farm to door, or self picking are available too. Buying fruit and veg from the supermarkets often yields tiny profit for farmers.
Many many schemes, ideas and solutions to money and resource problems are in place now because of the economic mishap, but we cannot let all these awesome advancements go to waste when dollars start flowing again…..
Ingenuity and resourcefulness must carry on even in prosperous times, it just makes sense!
What do you think?