One more con from Big Tech

Let us imagine for a moment a scale of 0 to 100 where 0 means something that is natural, organic and genuinely sustainable and 100 means the most extreme inorganic, toxic technology. A typical technological innovation will start off at perhaps 80 because what drives the technological innovators is certainly not the advancement of the environment. It is the advancement of the innovating company’s stock price. The way modern technology has advanced is through the abundant exploitation of more and more elements and materials into more and more complex combinations, alloys and interconnections, using more and more toxic chemicals and environmentally destructive processes, with constantly accelerating and shortening lifecycles, thus constantly accelerating the production of more and more linear toxic e-waste that has less and less fewer and fewer possibilities for reuse and recycling.

So, when a brand new innovation comes out, the very last thing on its mind is the environment. It’s at 80 destruction. The technologists have started off with the cultural belief that they can—and should—use as much materials and energy as they want. Whatever is necessary to get to market first, to gain competitive advantage. Then, either through some public or commercial pressure, they begin to focus more on efficiency, after the high of the innovation breakthrough fix has subsided a little. Boring efficiency improvement work now. So much efficiency to be gained in a system that was originally designed with hardly any concern for energy, materials or waste. Wow! In a couple of years, the horrendous 80 goes down to a truly horrible 70.

The spoon fed, brain dead press and media go wild. The words “green” and “clean” and “sustainable” are thrown around as if by drunks in charge of the confetti bucket at four weddings. It’s truly amazing the environmental progress being made, they gush. Please tell all our humble viewers how you got to 65. In a whirlwind of stupendous progress, they breathlessly announce they’ve got down to 60, then to 58. The media and politicians are now orgasmically gyrating, their palms greased by a few dollars more, their consciences dry cleaned and ready to proclaim this new technology as the savior, the new Christ, the deity of deities. And then the story moves relentlessly onwards, accelerating forever. We’ve got a new metric to distract your attention, the tech bros say, and they no longer want anyone to know that they’re stuck around 58.

We’ve got a new innovation to distract from the last one. And please no questions about how we used so much water and created so much toxic e-waste in order to move down to an still truly appalling and environmentally destructive score of 58. Because 58 is now green. 58 is now clean. 58 is now sustainable. Because … Well, because remember, we used to be 80. 58 is so much better than 80. Very young children do try similar techniques, though not nearly with the same success Big Tech has.

Mother: “Wash your face, Tom.”

“Mammy, but, but, but Peter’s face is much dirtier than mine, so my face is clean.

Mother: “Wash your face now, Tom.”

On an environmental destruction scale of 0 to 100, no product should go beyond 10. But because Big Tech starts at a horrendous 80 and then, years later, gets it down to an incredibly destructive 58, we start throwing around labels of being green, clean, renewable and sustainable. Why aren’t a lot more journalists exposing the total environmental fraud that Big Tech is?

Podcast: World Wide Waste
Interviews with prominent thinkers outlining what can be done to make digital as sustainable as possible.
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