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Elephants and pool
A powerful story on success after failure

(by Pablo Burgués)

In 1860, the US pool manufacturer Phelan and Collander offered a rich reward of 10.000 US dollars for the person who was able to develop some kind of material with characteristics that were similar to those of ivory. Why? Well, because until then billiard balls, as piano keys, were made of elephant tusk, and that meant the death of about 100.000 animals every year.

Was this the first Eco-friendly-animalist company in history? No, ma’am. The main (and only reason) for this initiative was purely economical, because the high expense spent on killing the animal, taking the tusks, bringing them by boat from Africa to the United States and turning them into billiard balls made the manufacture of this game too expensive. To find a cheaper alternative would mean a huge production price reduction and, thus, a significant increase regarding the company profits

One of the participants at the competition was the inventor  John Wesley Hyatt, who submitted something called  nitrocellulose, that was the bomb. Quite literally, because after several laboratory tests it was proved that the material had characteristics in common with gunpowder and a hard hit could make it explode. Though it was funny and promising, the idea of producing explosive pools did not really convince the boring people in charge of the company and poor Mr. Hyatt went back home empty-handed.

However, the guy did not give up and some years later (and some explosions afterwards) that issue he had created turned into one of the most successful products in history. How did this happen? Well, that material meant the starting signal for the further production of all kind of synthetic plastics, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, which every single plastic thing that surrounds us is currently made of.

What has this to do with Ibiza? Well, nothing at all. The original idea of this post was to make you become aware of the problem of plastic waste and how this is killing most of the Mediterranean biodiversity. Nonetheless, knowing you as I do, I was sure that if I only provided you with a lot of scientific information about this subject you wouldn’t take the blindest bit of notice of anything I said. To avoid it, I’ve decided to grab your attention with a funny story and, when you least expect, tell you his: Stop using drinking straws, teaspoons, water bottles and any other non-reusable plastic objects! They are very unnecessary and mostly they are turning our seas into fucking dungshills!

No, I’m not saying that only doing this you alone can put an end to this huge problem, but you can also help entities such as Greenpeace. How much is this going to cost? Listen, nothing at all. You only have to click  Here  and sign up. And indeed you can do this, you alone. 

 

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Pablo Burgués on Instagram and Twitter

Translation: Dora Sales

Read more stories: Typic d’aquí 

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