Inventing a new tomorrow

The world is changing. Regardless, we need to come up with new and more sustainable ways to live our lives and prioritize our resources.

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Christian Estrup profile image Christian Estrup

A sustainable mission?

In an interview for this year's White Sands magazine, I was asked the other day if I had a mission. My immediate answer was a reserved ". . . no, not really."

A sustainable mission?

As a son of a preacher man, I have always had a strained relationship with people on a mission; mission, understood as an obligation to preach one's truth to others and dictate other people what is right and wrong.

Don't get me wrong. I do think a great deal about the concept of sustainability, and I do try to think sustainability into all my processes. But in no way do I imagine that I am neither half nor fully on target, nor that I am in a position where I can allow myself to preach, or claim any truth.

I mean, maybe I don't need a company car? With leasing services, electricity to fuel the damn thing, insurance, access to the recycling center and all it probably costs me around 20 hours of work every single month, all year round.

I do what I can to recycle and give new life to materials that would otherwise just have been burned or thrown away. Similarly, I try to reduce my own resource pressure on a daily basis. But truth be told: if all of the planet's 8 billion (!) people left the same footprint as me, our planet still would not be big enough to cover the need.

There is a good point in spending the necessary time to recycle old structural timber or packaging wood, and of course that in itself is far more sustainable than going to the construction market and just buying new wood.

What makes the biggest difference in the way I live and think today, however, is that I have reset my commercial ambitions, and rather than financial gain am chasing a maximum of free time.

Boards from the original Tysk'havn quay, laid out back in 1910, which now need to be dried up and eventually will be given a new life as table tops and wall decoration. Photo by Ralf Andersen, Port of Hvide Sande.

Yes, I have a green profile and drive an eVito.

But neither the electric car nor the waste sorting nor the LED lighting in the workshop ultimately makes a big difference.

I mean, maybe I actually do not need a company car? With leasing services, electricity to fuel the damn thing, insurance, access to the recycling center and all it probably costs me around 20 hours of work every single month, all year round.

That's a staggering 240 hours annually!

Everything comes with a price, and that time could probably be invested way better making my studio and woodshop more open and attractive, inviting people in and selling some works! Better that than the imagined freedom of being able to drive anywhere, but really always having to sell that time on other people's terms.

No doubt I could benefit from learning a bit of the Christiania mentality, and just buy myself a state of the art Danish cargo bike? And then write about, document and share the process, my choices and my motivation?

Surely these are the kinds of challenges we should be giving ourselves?

At the end of the day, sustainability is not just a question of resource pressure and of transporting a little less plastic gizmos halfway around the Earth. That's just too easy. True sustainability is a question of how we each use and prioritize our time.

So if I should make myself a mission statement after all, I guess that's it: Not to preach and mission, but rather just being a living, open and curious example for our little daughters 💚🌍


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