Wednesday, 31 October 2012

About Hippies and Technology

Here is something that always stumps me.

Whenever I talk to people that haven't grasp the concept of "greener" (for the lack of a better word) living, the conversation inevitably goes towards technology and that we need it for our lives. Well yes and no. I don't really agree that it is necessary for life, after all we evolved without iPhones and the Internet for a considerable time. However, I love technology. Yes I do. I love gadgets, and hi-tech devices. There I said it. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don't think so.

In fact a lot of my so-called hippie friends possess cell phones, have a facebook account and hi-speed internet. I even possess an electrical toothbrush. I do not know where this notion comes from, that people who are environmental activists, or plain and simply try to live environmentally conscious think that technology is of the devil, or that they devalue their cause because...well...they use technology.  Isn't that what these people are against?? No, "They" are not.

When I mention that I like technology to some of my (let's be friendly now) 'less-green' friends and colleagues I automatically get called a hypocrite, because when you are against mass slaughterhouses, you are not allowed to eat meat. If you are against gas guzzling cars you have automatically lost the right to use any means of transportation other than your feet. At least it seems that way. It's the same when mentioning that capitalism doesn't really seem to work. Guess what, you are automatically labelled a communist. The argument is a false dichotomy (ie only 2 extreme positions are 'valid') and false dichotomies exist to polarize opinions and to reduce real thought and real debate down to a mud-slinging match. There are plenty of people out there who perpetually renew the 'Hippies Hate Technology' myth because it makes them money.

Personally, I think a lot of people are afraid that when we consider the environment, our economy will go down. If we try to go through life producing less trash and waste, we will have to forgo all technology and live back in a cave. It seems to be such a polarized topic. Why do people think that there is only black and white? Is it fear of the unknown? Maybe fear of change? Or is that the false dichotomy arguments have taken over all conversations about this topic?

But whatever it is, I can assure you that since I have started to change my life bit by bit, I have gained life quality. Maybe I have lost a bit of quantity in some respects, but that turned out to be positive thing.

Like my car for example. It is a small, three door, 1.8L car. I pay $45 a week in gas and I travel 50km every day for work. Yes I still use gasoline, but at least I try to save on it.  Why would I need a pick up truck just to get to work? I have a colleague that drives a F250 3/4 ton truck. Because she has a long driveway and needs to be able to get out in the winter. There might be 3-4 days a year where this vehicle is important for this task. Guess what I do on those 3 days a year. I shovel my driveway. It takes a while, but I get some exercise. If I don't have the time, I park my vehicle at the top of the driveway (we generally know when a big storm will hit several hours in advance) and shovel just that little bit. Is this such a terrible thing? Personally, I'd rather save thousands of dollars in gas and shovel my driveway a couple of times. When you think about it, I pay myself quite a good hourly wage!

I guess what I really want to say is this: Living "green" does NOT impede your lifestyle. It doesn't have to at all. Everything else is just an excuse.

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