We’re living in a time that some geologists call the Anthropocene – a geological age in which human activity is changing the very structure of the earth (ecosystem and environment). Global warming and climate change are know very much perceptible in our everyday life. As a part of the society, I have a small but real responsibility. As a craftsman, I need to ask myself what are my impacts on the planet, the society and my community. More importantly what actions I'm taking to decrease my footprint.
I'm aware that blacksmithing is not the most neutral carbon activity that we can think of. At my small scale and everyday, I take some actions to reduce my carbon foot print. This is a non exhaustive list of examples.
- Made to last: First and foremost everything I make is design to last a lifetime. With good maintenance and care my knives will perform for a long time. They can be repaired and sharpen over and over. One good quality knife easily replace dozen of low quality blades. In fine, less materials are extracted, less are used and less carbon is emitted for a better tool.
- Made with responsible materials: A knife is made from 2 materials. The steel for the blade and the wood for the handle and saya (wooden sheath). The wood I use come from the UK or from France, it's air dried and locally milled (Sheffield). The steel is partially recycled (wrought and pure iron for the cladding) and partially bought from European steel mill (from France, Sweden and UK for the core steel).
- Made with simplicity: My knives are simple so to speak. The techniques I use contribute to the efficiency of the knife and it's carbon frugality. The san-maï allows me to use recycled materials for 2/3 of the blade. Forging the blade to shape reduce the amount of grinding I have to do (grinding consumes a lot of abrasive and creates a lot of waste). Most of my handles are made from a single piece of local hard wood, therefore I use less glue and less abrasives.
On a more personal side of my business, I focus on being racial, gender and socially equal. I host students with complex behaviour and learning difficulties including autistic spectrum conditions. I encourage bladesmith women to learn the craft and I give access to my skills and facilities. I give back to the cooking community with unsellable knives.
- Sobriety : Technological optimum
- Efficiency : Minimize the consumption of energy and resources from extraction, production and end of life.
- Durability : Viability in short, medium and long term
Collective resilience :
- Maintainability : Can be maintained and repaired by users themself
- Accessibility : Maximum ease of use
- Autonomization : Resources exploited and transformed as locally as possible
Cultural transformation :
- Empowerment : facilitates appropriation by the greatest number
- Connectedness : Promotes the sharing of knowledge and social cohesion
- Simplification : Decomplexifies the society