Climate change may hit just the SAME wall as Free Software
But it would be much, much worst, of course.
A few days ago I came by this tweet by ClimateHuman:
“Join @ExtinctionR, raise your voices as one - and ALSO accept that (as Brenda the Disobedience Penguin says) we need to give up personal cars, excessive meat and dairy, commercial aviation, most plastic, planned obsolescence (sucks anyway), extractive capitalism (BIG TIME sucks!)”
and this reply by A. Cottica:
“Right. It’s cars, cheap flights and unbridled capitalism, or building a better civilization together, and global ecosystem health. No “cake and eat it”.”
This sample of that “Brenda the Disobedience Penguin” strip gives a good idea of the whole thing, which you should read in full, and also introduces why I felt, again…
That disturbing sensation of going at things backwards
I agree with those two tweets and that strip. I am not questioning climate change, its causes, and the huge problems it is causing and will continue to cause. I just feel, every time I read any of these “let’s give up something to save the planet” calls, that they are going at things backwards. I have the worrying sensation that all this advocacy is repeating the same error of the orthodox Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) movement, and that until it does, it is not going to reach critical mass soon enough.
Just yesterday, I wrote:
Now, re-read that quote replacing “software” with “climate change” and you’ll see what I mean.
Climate change is like software source code
Climate change is just like software source code. It is just something too big or too alien to accept for too many people (or, very often, still too controversial).
I mean “accept” as in “OK, time to rebuild my life around this NOW”, not rational, abstract, non-committing acceptance. Just like with “Free as in Freedom” software, there are only so many human beings that can be convinced to put climate change first. Personally, I find the parallels between most of FOSS and climate change advocacy to be way too many for my own comfort.
But let’s look again at just some of those things in that list. The things we should give up to deal with climate change. Let’s look at them from the opposite angle:
Smartphones? “Smart” phones that are everything but smart even when they are not overpriced upgrades “entirely meaningless in real-world use” and don’t double as anxiety generators?
Planned obsolescence? You mean, geeks fighting for the right to repair the wrong things, workers displaced to make bad products, and consumers owning debt, nstead of appliances that could last decades?
At a higher level, we have stuff like
Wanna fight climate change? Never mind climate change
This famous strip summarizes my whole point: what will produce the best and fastest concrete reactions to climate change? Talking of climate change, or talking of how to make more people really happy, because their lives finally suck less than today?
Another reason to not insist on Climate Change (*)
… is an answer I saw, still on Twitter, to the New Yorker piece titled “What If We Stopped Pretending? - The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.”
M. E. Mann suggestedthe New Yorker to change that headline in this way, which I see as both an addition to, and a confirmation of, my own point:
“What if we stopped pretending that false prophecies of unavoidable doom are anything other than crypto-denialist narratives that favor an agenda of inaction? [Because] Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial“
() this paragraph was added on Sept 8th, 2019*
Image sources: 9GAG/makeameme.org
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