Chemical Reaction

The Grounding Problem of Human Consumption

    The highest issue regarding how humans consume goods (take that as electronics, food, etc.) is that the wasted goods don't follow a pattern that exists in most biological and chemical systems: That being a cycle.  Life has harnessed the use of chemical cycles ever since there was life in the idea that a cycle exists as an efficient form, to reuse or remake from what has already been produced and used.  The point of a cycle is to expend the minimum amount of energy, and in the chemical world, this energy exists with chemical bonds.  For a chemical system, for example being that of the ATP cycle (adenosine triphosphate) our body breaks this down into ADP harnessing the energy of the phosphate-phosphate bond to power other chemical processis.  Now after the ADP is produced, the cell does not just toss this out of the cell into a landfill, but rather remakes ATP by adding another phosphate through the actions of oxidative phosphorylation (or by other biochemical systems) producing a cyclic existence of ADP and ATP.  If the cell were to throw out the ADP, the process would be extremely inefficient where it would have to use much for energy to produce more chemical bonds to synthesize a whole molecule of ATP.
     For starters this issue can be resolved greatly by our recycling system, but still manufactures still tend to use non recyclable plastics in many packagings.  Just last week I purchased a bag of candy, and it had a large non-recyclable packaging, but even more astonishing, I opened up the package to find that every miniature candy was unnecessarily individually packaged, in again, non-recyclable plastics.  This consumerism is always so evident during boxing day shopping, or anything of the sort, when people purchase just because it's on sale, where they have conquered the price, but really, have no need for the product.  I volunteer with a pre-teen youth group, and in hearing when they brag about what their parents buy them, I wonder how long it will take until those parents just toss those items to make room for more.  To overcome this hurdle, one must donate those toys to the less fortunate, something that many of the more fortunate parents don't do because they dont realize the importance.  A chemical analogy to this would be a cell in an ATP rich environment, where it would more rather use the ATP in the environment than to remake ATP out of the used up ADP.  This cell would adapt, and may have less mitochondrial systems to  make its own ATP, just as the parents create this non-cyclic system of consuming because they can take in products from the outside environment so easily.
     This idea also exists in our clothing.  Back when it was harder to get new clothes, people used to mend and edit their clothes themselves instead of throwing something away at the sign of degradation, keeping the clothing in a cycle.  And currently the quality of today's clothing is appalling, manufacturers produce these clothes in the philosophy that the consumers will buy more if they go through their products faster.  And if the consumers do get angry at the quality, the manufacturers wont necessarily have to deal with it.  If this was back in the day when consumers purchased local made clothing, if the consumer found something wrong, they could take it up with the tailor himself, resulting in the tailor wishing to produce a well made product.
     One of the biggest solution of this would be for governments to help out local companies so that it would be possible to compete with Chinese products sold in stores like Walmart and other enormous, money eating stores. My parents used to own a display fixtures company produced out of wood, and this company went down for this very reason.  Our customers ended up buying cheaply made fixtures from Chinese manufacturers, instead of purchasing our quality products.  I can still go into stores today, and see items we had made about ten years ago, where the cheaper Chinese products would get tossed very quickly.
    Discovery after discovery in the chemical world reveals endless amounts of cycles evident in our universe.  It is only common sense to infer that within a cyclic system, the laws of thermodynamics are most favorable.  Once this realisation sets in, one will see anything that doesn't adhere to this system and understand that a non-cyclic system is doomed for failure in the long run.  And for the cell in the ATP rich environment, once there is no more ATP supplied to it, it won't know what to do to produce any ATP for itself.

Newer Post

Older Post

Paul Crichton. Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts


I found myself blogging way too much in procrastination, so I felt it in me to create this blog to combine both my love for chemistry and my great skill of wasting time. I feel that scientific knowledge should follow along what wikipedia is producing; an open, free form for anyone to access, and I hope that this blog will bring this knowledge out to anyone who wishes to access it.

If anyone wishes to make a correction in any of my posts, or if they would like something more formally cited, please leave a message in the comments on that post and I will be more than happy to change it.