14 October, 2009

Gadgetocalypse

You know what really causes global warming?  This does.  This is that face of consumerism gone mad, the one that makes product managers rub their hands in glee, their factories burn through gigawatts of energy every year, and produces millions of tons of waste each year.

It's not surprising, given that if you have your gadget fixed, you pay money to have the same thing while your neighbour is enjoying the Latest Big Thing version of the gadget...  I wonder if I'll ever need a 1080P camcorder, for example.  I have a Samsung S860 pocket camera that takes juddery videos and blurry macro shots.  When it developed a fault, I had it fixed - and finally replaced with one of the same when the warranty repairer couldn't fix the problem.

Had I jumped up and down a bit more, I could have probably gotten the equivalent of that magic camcorder.  But I figured that if I hang onto the S860 for another year or two, something HUGELY better will come along, and when it finally goes to that great gadget shop in the sky, I'll upgrade then.

And therein lies the crunch.  If you have the choice of getting the same gadget back, with your scratches and dents and all, or a shiny new killer version of the gadget, the choice seems to be all but a foregone conclusion.  And it causes such a pile of e-waste every year, that you ought to be very ashamed...

It goes right along with the idealistic vision of OLPC and the e-cars explosion we're seeing.  Manufacturers are still wanting a profit, they still want turnover, and do-gooders have a utopian vision of the future where everyone drives an electric car using solar energy, and has energy-efficient access to all the energy-efficient gadgetry our hearts could desire.

IT ISN'T SO.

At the moment, not everyone has a car, nor, in fact, do the majority of the world's population have even a bicycle.  You will never reduce our impact by buying a newer gadget or making sure everyone in your family has a personal EV to drive around in.  Our way to save ourselves is to accept a slightly reduced standard of living right now, or an extremely reduced set of circumstances in a few years' time.  That's all the choice we have...


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1 comment:

GooseBreeder said...

Too right! Downsizing our aspirations, needs,wants and useage would really help.Learning to live without war and conflict would solve the rest of the world's problems.

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