by Robert Moorehead
I don’t know whether to be impressed or depressed. A cardboard manufacturing company has come up with a way to keep tsunami refugees warm when they sleep in their temporary homes: bed frames made of cardboard boxes. Instead of laying their futons on the cold floor, refugees can now lay them on a bed made of overturned boxes. With their bodies off the cold floor, the refugees can stay warmer when they sleep.
Is this a case of private sector ingenuity? Of concerned citizens filling a gap left by government incompetence? Of people pulling together to help each other in a time of crisis? Of a manufacturer looking to sell more boxes? Instead of a cardboard manufacturer stepping up to the plate, why aren’t Nitori and Ikea donating a bunch of beds?
On the one hand, this is a low tech, environmentally friendly solution. It uses items that are readily available, and costs very little. On the other hand, be careful you don’t spill any liquids on your bed, or it will disintegrate. And sexual intimacy with your partner on a bed made of cardboard? Now that’s romantic. More importantly, why are the temporary houses so cold in the first place? They also leak when it rains. How long will refugees have to endure such a standard of living? And in a land of plenty, why are refugees forced to to emulate the homeless when trying to stay warm?
What’s next? Newspapers make good blankets, so when you’re sleeping on your boxes, cover yourself with newspapers you find in the trash. Is this glass half-empty or half-full?
“Cardboard Beds to Keep Quake Victims Warm, Comfortable in Winter.” Mainichi Daily News, Oct. 27, 2011. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20111026p2a00m0na020000c.html