I think about alternate universes a lot. I find the idea of a place that could be just like our universe, but different because of a small history-changing moment, so fascinating.
I think about what an alternate version of myself would look like. I wonder how different I would be if I made a different decision at a crucial turning point. Would such a decision take me to a different branch from where I am now? If I met that other version of myself, would we agree on the same things? I wonder how much of my personality is predetermined, and how much effect external influences have had on the person I am now.
Recently I watched a video that made me again think about this. The video is about a girl named Kati Pohler. She was born in China, and was later adopted by an American family. Her biological parents gave her up when she was only three days old, leaving her at a market in China. They did this because of one of the same reasons my parents left China: the one-child policy.
Paul Hawken is also the author of The Ecology of Commerce, and so there are similarities between the two books. Both explore ways to reduce toxic waste and combat the waste of throwaway products. But Natural Capitalism also talks about how to reduce other kinds of waste.
The book refers to a concept called muda, which is Japanese for waste, futility, or purposelessness. This concept was coined by Taiichi Ohno, who defined waste and therefore muda as “any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value”. Therefore, other kinds of waste can be included in this definition, such as wasted time and wasted human resources. This is what natural capitalism is: a new kind of industrialism that promotes “economic efficiency, ecological conservation, and social equity”.