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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/228794
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- Beyond efficiency ratings: is the domestic fridge sustainable?
- Lowe, Kate
- The Collins Dictionary describes the fridge as a 'chamber in which food, drink etc. are kept cool' but such a simple description belies the complex realities of the fridge and its impact on and relationship to sustainability. Sustainability itself is difficult to define, as it remains an aspirational rather than particular reality, nonetheless it is important to outline a definition so the rest of this paper is conceptualised within it and the reader and myself are 'on the same page'. David Orr describes 'sustainable design [as] the careful nesting of human purposes with the larger patterns and flows of the natural world'. While he is referring to 'design', the metaphor of 'careful nesting' can be expanded to convey a sense of what sustainability means. The fridge's impact on sustainability, that is on ourselves and the rest of nature, is not simply about energy efficiency or even its material realities. The fridge is not only a 'cool box', something seemingly so ordinary it is largely invisible to us, but as an enabler of apparent human transcendence beyond the 'natural world' by arresting death and decay and allowing us to eat outside of geographical or seasonal food limitations. By opening the doors of the fridge we can explore gender roles, social history and industrial capitalism, all of which intersect to tell the story of the fridge and its relationship to sustainability. It is important to clarify here though that home ownership of a fridge-freezer is not universal so this paper is situating itself within economically privileged communities within countries such as Australia.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. National Centre for Sustainability
- Journal of the National Centre for Sustainability, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jun 2012)
- Publication year
- Domestic fridges; Gender toles; Industrial capitalism; Refridgeration; Social history; Sustainability
- National Centre for Sustainability, Swinburne University of Technology
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2012. Published by Swinburne University of Technology.
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