Laptop on Meadow

The world is burning, and it’s painfully obvious that if society as a whole continue in much the same way as it has been, then we’re truly up the creek. Things have gotten so bad that the term Climate Emergency is now the standard term. You know how much worse ‘Emergency’ is compared to ‘Change’?

It’s a hell of a lot.

There are many many many articles that state the effects of rampant capitalism is the cause of the increase and continuation of this emergency, and is such a massive influence in making positive change harder. Showing time and time again that corporations and political institutions that support them continue to do so despite their green movement platitudes.

So how can this be fixed? Will bans on plastic bags, coffee cups, straws, and the like sort out out environment? Fat chance, corporations are responsible for the majority of emissions pollution and industries are a massive source of waste, with nearly half of ocean waste coming from the fishing industry alone. It is obvious that the biggest effect on bettering the planet is by dismantling these industries, there is no way in hell that they will choose bettering themselves over profits. Christ, they won’t even pay their fair share in taxes half of the time… and that doesn’t change any kind of their business processes. These companies will continue whilst pretending to make responsible changes.

Does that mean that we’re truely f**ked? If most of the waste is not our fault how could we fix the situation? Of course not, if we don’t act then nothing will change; your change in actions and behaviours can influence others, who in turn will influence more and more and bring about the change we need. In a revolution every individual is important.

So, what’s this got to do with technology? Whilst my domain is .codes I am a human being and I recognise my impact and I want us to change for the better, and I am going to write about that in my blog, as well as tech stuff.

On the other hand, the tech industry is another industry, and it really needs to be sorted out because at the moment it really isn’t helping. Massive internet corporations such as Amazon and Google flaunt political structures for their own gain and actively damaging society and the environment. Social Media platforms flaunt advertisments showing the populace what the paymasters want you to see. Advertising platforms collect data on you and form an image of you so they can influence you and push you towards what they want you to see, hear, and read. Payment platforms such as Paypal can pick and chose who is worthy of being paid. So much of our lives pass through the filters of the tech industry and currently, deep down, they do not give a rat’s arse about the environment.

Even on a more physical level, they is so much abuse and damage caused in the manufacturing of technology. Companies abusing labour in foreign countries, dumping vast amounts of tech waste that can seep into their local environment. Producing products that are harder to maintain, to fix, to upcycle; and an industry trying to destroy our right to repair.

So how can this be fixed, if the cards are stacked against you is there anything that can be done? I certainly think so. There are ways to slowly remove yourself from this culture that we seem to have fallen in to.

On the physical side, it means following the addage “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” with an added “Repair”:

  • Got a phone, tablet or computer on it’s last legs or running slow? There is so much help on the internet on installing alternative OS’s that are free, fast, and can stop you from both adding waste. A good place to start is linux for the computers (I’m always a fan of fedora), and lineageOS for phones (which can remove a lot of the bloatware and give you the most slimmed down version of your mobile operating system)

  • Coming to the end of your mobile contract and nothing is wrong with your phone, just don’t go for a new phone contract. SIM only deals are a hell of a lot cheaper and offer more.

  • If you really do need a new phone, consider a fairphone they are producing modular phones that are repairable and they are transparent with their efforts to produce less damage to the environment and workers rights.

  • Consider buying second hand, and install an alternative OS to give new life to these machines

The software side is always more interesting, there’s no real adage but I recommend “Decentralise, Decentralise, Decentralise”

  • Leave the sight of the advertisers, use adblockers, VPNs, DNS over HTTPS, use the Tor Network, if your not tech minded make your data absolutely useless, if they’re advertising things that you don’t relate to at all, then they’re just wasting their money for no return.

  • Leave the monolithic Social Media Platforms, they are just evil full stop, and news is constanly rolling in on how they influence our lives for corporate or political gain. If you need to be plugged in look into more open source and ad-free networks. I’m a big fan of Mastadon, which is a part of a massive federation of smaller instances all linked together meaning that no one is in control and decentralised.

  • Further on from the above, leave WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. They’re another hold on you from facebook and they are trying very hard to incorporate businesses into your world. Use Signal or Riot instead.

  • Try and not flow your money through the big payment platforms or to undeserving companies. There is constant news about these megalith’s dirty practices, yet they continue to exist because we are feeding into it. Aim for smaller independent companies that don’t have a general influence over policy making to further their own agendas.

  • Try out decentralised money… whilst Bitcoin has been bashed a lot around the place the concept behind it is very interesting. And keeping the money out of the questionable investing practices of the banking world can always be good. Many cryptocurrencies have had a lot of bad rap with how much eneergy has been used to mine for blocks but consider a model such as that used by the Stellar Foundation, or FairCoin’s ‘fairchain’; which are less intensive and more ‘co-operative’. If you want to give it a practice, pretty soon I’ll have a donation page up… wink.

Technology isn’t inherintely evil, however it has been co-opted by industries and influences who want to increase and preserve their profits with absolutly no regards for human or environmental rights. Much like the need to dismantly the current capitalist system, the mainstream technological framework also needs to be ripped apart and rebuilt for us, and not the companies that have hijacked it.