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View Diary: The Next Big Thing (why "all tech, all the time" fails us) (105 comments)

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  •  Technology has always been (0+ / 0-)

    A way to harness knowledge to "do" things and a contributor to culture, starting with sticks and stones.

    Technology is a tool we can use or abuse, a means not an end.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:15:55 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, and? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      I know what technology is. My comment has nothing to do with the definition of technology, but rather our abdication of responsibility for our actions.

      Take the practice of large scale monocultures (in both agricultural and lawn culture).

      A large scale monoculture creates the perfect environment for predators of whichever species is being grown. Instead of recognizing that we have created the habitat, laid out the dinner table, and invited disaster through our action, our culture, of planting large scale monocultures, modern industrial agriculture believes the solution is not to abandon the practice, but to continue developing ways to perpetuate the behavior. And the technology they develop poisons the soil, kills beneficial organisms, requires a huge investment of energy, causes health problems for humans and the environment, and is monetarily costly as well.

      A large scale monoculture also decreases soil organism diversity and puts an imbalanced nutrient demand upon the soil and the organisms that would live there. The answer? Synthetic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers which poison the soil organisms (or often times disrupt the symbiotic relationship between plant and organism, addicting the plant to our synthetic inputs), destroy carbon in the soil, leak into ground water, poison rivers, lakes, and oceans (leading to dead zones), and of course- rely upon energy intensive inputs to be produced.

      If we would admit that our culture is what is at fault, we could invest the same time, energy, and money into solutions that are already on the ground making change. But instead, we decide to venture on our brave path- believing that the next tool to save us all is just around the corner.

      And all of this is just a start on industrial ag. Not even to mention the many other disciplines where we believe that we should engineer a solution rather than change our behavior. It is my opinion that technology is no longer just a tool, but rather a tool that we are addicted to. We have become so entranced by our ability to create, to invent, that we can no longer see that the paths we have invested so much in are the wrong ones. Oftentimes the solutions to our problems are changes in behavior, changing the way we see things, rather than engineering a solution. But our society has been built around the creation of new tools for so long now that we don't want to admit that we have gone astray.

      This doesn't mean that tools are inherently bad or that we should stop all research, take up loin clothes, and cavort around the planet like our distant ancestors. This is a recognition that our society has a problem. When we can no longer see the damage wrought by our behaviors, amplified by our application of certain technologies, we have a problem.

      A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

      by FinchJ on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:52:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, because of our irresponsibility (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FinchJ

        We now find ourselves in a situation where we are obliged to engineer solutions.

        For example, renewable energy, which is an imperative just to mitigate the effects of failing to invent better technology since the advent of the industrial revolution. Seems we can't stop the habit of burning stuff.

        But I'd point out that our understanding of the mess we have created is due, in part, to using tools like computers, so let's not suggest they are useless or the problem.

        But as you suggest, ultimately these are human problems needing human solutions (like using our frigging brains to think and hands to turn off the lights) including better use of technology.

        The choices are human, we should stop blaming things. I totally agree with that. Some people here seem to think the things are in control, and in some instances, perhaps that's the case, but holy crap, if your head is full of junk from playing video games, hit the power switch.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:09:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm all for inventing things. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, Oh Mary Oh

          Just wish we would stop for a minute before doing so.

          Daniel Nocera's research team from MIT's artificial leaf, for instance, is something I can get behind. The latest incarnation separates the bond between hydrogen and oxygen in water with only the input of sunlight- no electricity. The hydrogen should be able to be captured and stored. It is quite amazing and is just awesome.

          Here is a link to his latest talk- pretty much rehashing his older material, but showcasing the latest incarnation. Makes me wish I had money to invest in it.

          And my harping on ag has something to do with this: John Liu's Green Gold documentary, which puts together a few of the largest ecosystem regeneration projects in the world into one sitting. What can, and is, being accomplished without the use of synthetic inputs and genetic modification, is enough to make us wonder why we back millions in research for these things while holding back those same dollars from funding ecological design.

          Technologies that help to shift to a new paradigm of regeneration (beyond sustainability, we can do better than the status quo) I'm all for. Technologies that further entrench destructive behavior on the other hand... just pisses me off.

          A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

          by FinchJ on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:15:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I consider any regeneration technology (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FinchJ, Oh Mary Oh

            To be "sustainable", i.e., the outputs are net positive.

            Reduce
            Reuse
            Recycle

            In that order.

            So why frack and drill for natural gas when there are mountains of chicken shit going to waste.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:35:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly. There is so much waste (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Oh Mary Oh, koNko

              that isn't waste. Hell, the largest is our own waste. But talk about night soil and see how far along you get before something thinks you are a freak!

              A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

              by FinchJ on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 06:02:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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