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Need a New Car? Going “Green” Can Be A Wise Choice.

Need a New Car? Going “Green” Can Be A Wise Choice.

Allan Maynard, MSc. – May 2024

 

After 2 years of research, pondering and a degree of procrastination, I acquired a new car. I took my time. Firstly, I was totally satisfied with the car I had. It was a very comfortable ride and reasonably fuel efficient. Furthermore, being retired, I don’t routinely drive that much.

I became concerned about the age of my car (a 2006 small SUV), but the main reason for finally getting a new car was the desire to be environmentally responsible, especially given my hosting of a web site dealing with climate change and other environmental matters. As well – the trend to battery cars is inevitable. Canada will require all new automobiles to be “zero-emission” by 2035. Many other countries have introduced similar requirements.

As forests burn and cities drown, as crops wither and people die – there is no longer doubt that climate change is dangerously impacting societies the world over. In 2016, 196 nations signed the legally binding Paris Accord. The Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees (preferably 1.5 degrees) Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year (see first reference for how this is calculated). This means that about percent of greenhouse gas emissions result from the use of personal vehicles. As such, electrifying transportation systems is a crucial component in reaching the global goals. A second significant benefit in electrifying transportation, is the reduction of air pollution (particles and oxides of nitrogen). Around the world, air pollution is responsible for over 7 million early deaths per year.

Fully electric vehicles (EVs) have no tailpipe emissions. It is well understood though, that EVs are not zero emissions as explained below. Hybrid vehicles and plug in hybrid vehicles provide significant reductions in emissions and are thus a good option when going fully EV may not be workable.

It is important to not be fooled by the misinformation circulating via social media and other outlets, such as the ridiculous claim that electric vehicles  (EVs) pollute more than gas cars due to battery manufacturing. These are false flags, and it only takes a bit of research time to expose these myths.

The car I decided on is in the last paragraph of this article. Please read on.

Move Away from Animal Agriculture

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FACTS AND MYTHS

There is a massive amount of information on battery operated cars. It is complex and nuanced. I will not go into a great deal of detail but have provided adequate references.

 

 

  1. Manufacturing – The manufacturing of a typical electric vehicle (EV) can create more carbon pollution than manufacturing a gasoline car because of the additional energy required to manufacture an EV’s battery. However, over the lifetime of the vehicle, total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with manufacturing, charging, and driving an EV are much lower than the total GHGs associated with a gasoline car. See graph – figure 1

2. Operation – driving an EV produces zero carbon but the emissions ‘equivalent’ must take into consideration how the electricity for charging is produced. In many cases EVs need power from power plants that use fossil fuels. This has an overall impact, but even when the power grid is heavily dependent on ‘dirty’ fuel (oil and coal), an EV produces less greenhouse gas emission See graph 2.

3. Mining for minerals vs mining for fossil fuels – millions vs billions

There is no doubt that the extraction of precious minerals and lithium needed for EV batteries has an environmental impact. However, the extraction is significantly lower for electric cars compared to gas and diesel cars. Mining minerals for the clean-energy economy is measured in millions of tons per year (7 million tons in 2020). By contrast, the fossil fuel industry extracted the equivalent of 15 billion metric tons in 2019.

Moreover, the fossil fuel industry will need to extract this year after year to keep supplying energy. Clean-energy technology can use at least some of these materials for decades or in some cases, if recycled effectively, in perpetuity.

4. Range anxiety is real

For sure the concern for the range of EVs is real. However, for most uses, the EV range is not an issue at all. Firstly – the range of fully charged EVs has improved dramatically over the past 5 years with the average range now at 378KM (237 miles). Some are as high as 690 km (431 miles). The model S Tesla has a range of 500km (310 miles). Again – these are only guidelines as the range depends on many factors such as geography or temperature. By far most driving involves short trips – commuting, shopping, social, etc. The daily average in North America is around 50 km (30 miles) per day. Clearly the EV range is not an issue in such cases.

However, it is an issue for longer trips. Currently there are not enough EV charging stations in North America. For a driver needing to travel more than 200 km, a charging plan would be required.

Move Away from Animal Agriculture

Figure 1 – from Yale Climate Connections – 2022. Note – in Canada we use liters per 100 km – to convert – divide 235.2 by the miles per US gallon. Thus – in the chart above – 79 miles per gallon is 2.98 liters per 100 km.

5. Battery Life and Maintenance

EV batteries aren’t cheap. The battery is typically the most expensive component of an electric car and can cost as much as $20,000, which means replacement can be a pricey proposition. So, how long do EV batteries last? Most last between 10 and 20 years; for context, the average car on American roads is 12.5 years old. The battery life can vary slightly or significantly depending on certain factors.

Another factor to consider – EVs typically require significantly less maintenance than conventional vehicles because the battery, motor, and associated electronics require little to no regular maintenance. There are fewer fluids, such as engine oil, that require regular maintenance.

6. Cost outlay

For many consumers, the most significant obstacle is the initial capital outlay. EVs generally cost more, and it is straightforward to carry out cost comparisons among similar models. There are also many references available that allow calculations to determine the break-even point – at which the savings in operating an EV offset the capital outlay. The last reference below calculates a savings of over 7000 dollars over 7 years of operations – but the calculations are complex and depend on may factors.

Move Away from Animal Agriculture

SO — WHAT DID I CHOOSE?

From my research, it became abundantly clear that an electric vehicle is much better for the environment under all circumstances, and especially so in British Columbia with abundant hydroelectricity. As well, I felt reassured concerning battery life. If this purchase had been for a household of 2 cars, I certainly would have selected a full EV. However, since this will be my only car, I did have a concern for the range in that I do anticipate a few longer trips.

As such, I decided on a plug-in hybrid or PHEV (Mitsubishi Outlander). On an overnight charge I have a range of about 60km (40 miles) and thus almost all (more than 85%) of my drives will be on electricity. So far, I have driven over 2500 km and only had to fill my gas tank once. Even when I am using the gasoline engine, the fuel efficiency is double the efficiency of an equivalent gasoline vehicle.

SUMMARY COMMENTS

There are so many factors in assessing whether to acquire an EV. The references below will provide greater detail for those wishing to consider this choice.

Will 2023 be the year that was or merely a prelude of the years to come?

Will 2023 be the year that was or merely a prelude of the years to come?

A helicopter battles the McDougall Creek wildfire as it burns in the hills of West Kelowna, British Columbia, on Aug. 17. (Darren Hull/AFP/Getty Images)

Will 2023 be the year that was or merely a prelude of the years to come?

It is likely that 2023 will be remembered as the point at which humanity’s inability to deal with a climate crisis of its own making the was finally and fully exposed.  Will 2023 be also remembered as an inflection upon which the science is truly accepted by society thereby driving radical and rapid change?  Or will the heat anomaly and catastrophes of 2023 be looked back upon as one of the cooler, more stable years in people’s lives.

2023 WAS A YEAR OF EXTREMES

This past year has now been confirmed as the hottest year in recorded history – a record surpassed by a large margin and much sooner than predicted.  Scientists repeatedly expressed shock as successive heat records fell, and warned the world is moving dangerously close to the 1.5-degree limit that nearly 200 countries sought to avoid in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Deaths from heat stroke are at an all-time high around the world. Millions around the globe are now stranded in inhospitable conditions by global heating. The graph shows some of the many records broken – these from the global measurements just prior to the year end. There were countless local records also surpassed.

global atmospheric temperatures

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In addition to global atmospheric temperatures – many other records were were smashed in 2023 including:

  • levels of heat absorbed by Earth’s oceans, which have been warming year-on-year for the past decade
  • loss of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic,
  • extent and duration of ‘heat domes’ (such as in Phoenix Arizona with over 30 days above 43 degrees C / or 110 F),
  • extent of rainfall (especially in China) and flooding (with the flood in eastern Libya considered the worst disaster of the 21st century)
  • extent and duration of droughts with associated food insecurity,
  • total hectares lost from wildfires (especially in Canada – see chart).

2023 WAS ALSO A YEAR FOR SOME HOPE

The climate extremes of 2023 were impossible to ignore thus raising overall awareness about the extent of the climate emergency. There were some positive signs of movement in the right direction.  

  • The COP 28 (Conference of the Parties) at least mentioned the ‘elephant in the room’ – that being fossil fuels. The final compromise agreement stated the need to transition “away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”. It was considered a victory of sorts given the fact that this is the first COP where the words ‘fossil fuels’ are actually included in the draft decision. More about this below.

 

  • Over the year, global renewable energy capacity grew by the fastest pace ever recorded, which could put the world within reach of meeting a key climate target by the end of the decade, according to the International Energy Agency. Moreover, the cost of renewables is improving significantly – see chart.
2023 WAS ALSO A YEAR FOR SOME HOPE
global atmospheric temperatures

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  • Policy initiatives in many countries (USA, Canada, much of Europe and even China) are driving the increased uptake of electric vehicles and the building of energy efficient buildings.

 

  • Governments, fossil fuel firms and airlines are increasingly being met with climate lawsuits. According to data bases run by the Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, there are more than 2,500 lawsuits recorded globally, and this shows no sign of stopping any time soon. Why? – because it is highly effective.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2024

According to most predictions, 2024 will be as hot or hotter than 2023. Vast areas of Earth’s oceans were record-warm for most of 2023, and it will take many months for that heat to be released. Moreover, an intense episode of the planet-warming El Niño climate pattern is nearing its peak, and the last time that happened, it pushed the planet to record warmth (in 2016).

It is also likely that the momentum that has been building towards the transition away from fossil fuels, will continue. Afterall, the awareness about the climate emergency within the public is higher than it has ever been. Any kind of denial about the reality climate change has been burned to a crisp.

As well, many scientists are increasingly optimistic about the power of technology to change the world, and in terms of our fight against climate change it’s one of the strongest levers that we have.

Massive forms of activism though, would be an even stronger lever. Political will depends on the mood of voters. What worries me is the trend towards extreme right-wing politics along with disinformation tactics that can easily work towards pushing the stop button on progress and even take us backwards. As I wrote in a previous article, capital has an outsized influence on politics thus sowing decades of division while the situation has worsened. In fact – Capital is rewarded by governments around the world, with subsidies estimated by the World Bank to be 23 million dollars per minute.

Indeed, capital (or big money) had an outsized influence on the last COP conference with oil industry lobbyists outnumbering the delegates of many developed countries –   hence a weakened commitment. Many from the science community feel that the text included language to placate fossil fuel interests and thus fell far short of what was needed on emissions reductions and finance to help the most vulnerable cope with worsening extreme weather and heat. The statement should, as a minimum, have stated the need to “phase out” of instead of “a transition away” from fossil fuels. In instances like these – words do matter.

Where does all this leave us? My conclusion is the same as for my last article. Short of donating to environmental organizations, or initiating our own forms of advocacy, the most important action we can individually do is to vote for our future and convince others to do the same. Politics matter – especially this year with so many critical elections taking place.  Any politician that does not acknowledge the crises the planet is facing and endorse a legitimate set of plans to deal with climate change and planetary destruction is not fit for office. We all have the power to ensure this happens and to advocate for change.

THE MYTH OF PLASTIC RECYCLING

Allan Maynard, MSc. NOVEMBER 9, 2020

THE CRYING INDIAN – If you watched TV during the 1970s and 80s you would likely have seen one of the most iconic ads ever made. A buckskinned, black braided Native American (but called “Indian” in those days) is seen paddling down a pristine river but eventually enters a polluted harbor. He paddles his boat to a bank strewn with litter. As he exits his boat and wanders near a road someone flings a bag of trash from a moving car. The trash scatters at his feet.  The Native American then looks into the camera; a single tear is seen rolling down his cheek. The narrator booms –“People start pollution. People can stop it.” 

The ad in many aspects is a fraud. The “Crying Indian” is neither Native American nor crying. He was played by an Italian actor known for playing natives in western movies. The ad was sponsored by the organization “Keep America Beautiful”. What eventually became clear, the Keep America Beautiful organization was founded, and is still mainly funded, by the beverage and packaging industries. While anti-littering campaigns should certainly be lauded, the sinister reality behind this campaign was to shift blame for packaging waste in the environment towards the users of the products rather than the manufacturers. Thus began THE MYTH OF PLASTICS RECYCLING. 

THE NUMBERS IN REVIEW – In my October 26, 2020 article – “We Are Drowning in Plastics”, I presented dramatic statistics concerning plastic waste.  A quick review of the main facts:

  • 6 billion (approximately) tons of plastic materials have been produced in the period 1950 to 2015 (Science Advances, 2017)
  • The estimate to update that number into 2020 – approximately 9 billion tons 
  • Of the 6 billion tons of plastic ever made up to year 2015 – 9% has been recycled, 12% has been burned, and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or in the environment. 
  • The amount of plastic entering the oceans (earth’s last sink) is over 9 million tons each year. This is only a fraction of the total plastic waste generated. 

WHAT THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY KNEW – For decades, we have been sorting trash believing that most plastic could be recycled. But the truth is, the vast majority of all plastic produced can’t be or won’t be recycled. In a joint investigation, NPR (U.S. National Public Radio) and the PBS series Frontline found that oil and gas companies — the makers of plastic — have known this reality all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite. 

The main points from this investigation are: 

  • Plastics industry had “serious doubt” recycling would ever be viable

The investigators dug deep into various archives and found internal correspondence. For example, the investigators state —  “A report sent to top industry executives in April 1973 called recycling plastic ‘costly’ and “difficult.’ It called sorting it ‘infeasible’, saying ‘there is no recovery from obsolete products.’ Another document a year later was candid: There is ‘serious doubt’ widespread plastic recycling can ever be made viable on an economic basis.”

  • The industry promoted recycling to keep plastic bans at bay

The investigators interviewed three former top officials from the plastics industry who revealed that the industry promoted recycling as a way to beat back a growing tide of awareness about plastic pollution along with calls for banning certain products (late 80s, early 90s). Recycling, the former officials told NPR and Frontline, became a way to pre-empt the bans and sell even more plastic. In fact the industry projection is to triple production by 2050.

  • More recycling means fewer profits for petrochemical companies

The more plastic is recycled, the less money the industry will make selling new plastic. And those profits have become increasingly important with the declining market for fossil fuels. In essence the petrochemical companies are aware that a successful recycling operation will become their competitor. Or, if they undertake recycling themselves, it will reduce profits. It’s much cheaper (and thus more profitable) to make new products from raw materials than to make an inferior plastic product from waste.

The sad truth is that is that the plastics industry has promoted recycling mainly to sell more products. The public has been lead to believe that the recycling triangle on the bottom of plastic packing means the item the item can be recycled. The truth of the matter? – It’s complicated. 

Is it really necessary to package lettuce like this? These plastic containers are made of #1 PET thermoform and are usually used for berry containers, salad containers, tomato containers, etc. They are not readily recyclable. 

WHAT PLASTICS ARE THERE?  WHICH ONES CAN BE RECYLCED

Recycling is determined by two factors: the market and city or municipal government programsIf there’s an organized recycling program along with a demand in the market for the plastics collected, then recyclers and companies will pay for post-consumer recyclables. The market demand is quite limited in reality, and it greatly depends on the type of plastic.

In general terms there are two broad categories of plastic  – thermoset plastics and thermo-plastics. Thermo-plastics are plastics that can be re-melted and re-moulded into new products, and therefore, recycled. Thermoset plastics contain polymers that cross-link to form an irreversible chemical bond, meaning that no matter how much heat is applied, they cannot be re-melted into new material and hence are not recyclable.

Examples of plastic containers that can be recycled in curb side programs. These are #2 – HDPE – see table below.

In more specific terms, the following are the various formulations of plastics, what they are used for, the approximate proportions in the waste streams (up to and including the year 2015) and the possibilities for recycling.  Note – the numbers – 1 to 7 referenced appear on the plastic items usually in a small triangle. 

# Name Examples Re-cycling options
1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Beverage bottles, food jars, clothing fiber, cosmetic bottles  11 Most PET products can be re-cycled from curb-side programs
2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) Milk jugs, detergent bottles, toys, garden furniture 14 Similar to #1 – mostly accepted in blue bin programs
3 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 2 forms – a) rigid – for plumbing, windows, bank cards and b) non rigid – inflatable products, electric wire insulation, etc.  5 Some items can be recycled – but there are difficulties in separating.
4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) Plastic bags, food wrappings, squeezable bottles,  20 Only a few items can be recycled. The big issue is single use bags as they get caught in the sorting machines.
5 Polypropylene (PP) Bottle caps, straws, coolers, diapers, clothing and carpet fibers, and some food packing – yogurt, margarine, etc.  19 Most cannot be recycled through curb side programs
6 Polystyrene (PS) White Styrofoam – used in packaging and also for rigid food containers 6 Most municipalities do not accept Styrofoam products in curbside recycling programs
7 Other – category 7 A grab bag of plastics not found in any other category.   24% Mostly non recyclable

# – Refers to the number found in the triangle on each plastic item

% – Refers to the estimated percentage of each kind of plastic in the waste stream – up to 2015.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT RECYLING – In general – it is the plastics with the numbers 1 and 2 (mostly) that can be recycled in curbside recycling programs. Others usually need to be taken to recycling locations or are simply sent to landfills or incinerators. Careful citizens will take the time to sort their plastics and take, to recycling depots, those items not permitted in curbside bins. However, the main concern is that a large majority will simply put all plastic items in curbside blue boxes. In such cases – likely the majority – the items that cannot be recycled will be considered trash. 

Mixed material such as zip lock bags can be a problem. For instance – take away coffee cups. While the outside of the cup is made of paper, inside is a thin layer of plastic. The PP (Polypropylene) film protects the liquid from seeping into the paper (and thereby burning you) and keeps your warm drink from cooling too quickly. Because there are two different materials, the cups cannot be recycled unless the materials are separated, which is impossible to do by hand and requires a special machine.

Any plastic material with food residues on (or in) it CANNOT be recycled. In order for plastics to be transformed into recycled goods, they must be of decent quality. So, it is important to wash the plastic before it goes in the blue box. 

To sum up – most plastic we use cannot be recycled. The plastic industry knows this and yet continues to extensively market plastic for multiple uses. We users can do more by becoming aware and refusing to use single use plastic or buying items that are inappropriately packaged. However, regulation is the only way to revers the troubling trend towards increasing plastic use. Canada for instance will ban single use plastic in 2021. But this is only a start. 

UPCOMING – 2 more articles. 

The serious concern about micro-plastics

Long-term solutions – yes – we can get out of this mess.

OUR DIGITAL WORLD IS NOT SO CLEAN

OUR DIGITAL WORLD IS NOT SO CLEAN
Allan Maynard, MSc. – October 2021

A 4 MINUTE READ — The internet and associated technologies have taken over our lives with an ecological impact that is impossible to ignore.
This is the next article in the series – “FOOTPRINTS – By the numbers” – addressing the environmental impact (or FOOTPRINT) of some of our normal, everyday lives.

When I was growing up in the 1950s – phones were attached to the wall with the phone lines shared with neighbours – “the party line” as it was called. The first computer I encountered was in 1966 at Simon Fraser University. It was the size of a living room and basically processed calculations. Fast forward to now.

In the space of 50 years, the digital world has grown to become crucial to the functioning of society. Computer processing power has increased a staggering 1 trillion times between the early 80s and now. The revolution has proceeded at breakneck speed — approximately 4.1 billion people, or 53.6% of the global population, now use the internet. No technology has reached more people in as short a space of time and it is far from finished.

The benefits of digital technology are immeasurable – society can no longer carry on without it. However, the negative aspects of the internet are also many and growing – One of the many significant negative aspects is — THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

ONE OF GOOGLE’S DATA CENTERS

CARBON FOOTPRINT

Every single search query, every streamed song or video and every email sent, billions of times over all around the world all adds up to an ever-increasing global demand for electricity by the central servers and data storage centers. Our increasing reliance on digital tools has an environmental impact that’s becoming increasingly harder to ignore.

One of the difficulties in working out the carbon footprint of our internet habits is that few can agree on what should and should not be included. In reviewing the literature though – most reports calculate that the carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.4 to 4% of global greenhouse emissions – comparable to the global airline industry. These emissions are expected to double by 2025.

Most significant in energy use is cryptocurrency. Solving the equations to acquire new bitcoins (referred to as “mining”) requires large volumes of computer hardware that frequently overheats and is extremely energy intensive. Estimates put the annual energy usage of bitcoin mining equivalent to that of Sweden or Malaysia.
And as these “mines” multiply, their operations begin to stretch and even overwhelm national power grids. Iran banned bitcoin mining last month after it led to blackouts. Multiple provinces in China, one of the world’s biggest producers of bitcoin, banned mining too, leading miners to relocate their hardware to sites of more traditional underground extraction in Canada and South Dakota.

POLLUTION FROM PRODUCTION OF OUR DEVICES

For their production, green energy and digital technologies require a variety of precious and rare earth metals. For the most part, they exist in minute quantities in metal ores that also contain more abundant metals such as copper. For example, a tonne of rock produces ONLY four to seven grams of the precious metal – platinum (about 0.0004 to 0.0007 %). The extraction of these minerals is difficult and complex, requiring abundant labour, chemicals, water, and land. Two examples (of many) are provided.

Example 1 – China produces 45% of the world’s metals and 95% of some of the key rare earth metals. It is also now the biggest consumer of metals in the world. China also has some of the most polluted rivers and land areas in the world due to this prominence. From north near the Mongolian border to south in Guangdong, China is struggling to clean up the environment polluted by mining. The clean-up process is expensive and time-consuming, and some say it could be 50-100 years for the environment to recover. A 2019 US Army report highlights a central issue driving rare-earth pollution in China: “China is less burdened with environmental or labor regulatory requirements that can greatly increase costs incurred in mining and manufacturing rare-earth products.”

Example 2 -In Malaysia, Mitsubishi Chemical is now engaged in a $100 million cleanup of its Bukit Merah rare earths processing site, which it closed in 1992 amid opposition from local residents and Japanese politicians and environmentalists. It is one of Asia’s largest radioactive waste cleanup sites, and local physicians said the thorium contamination from the plant has led to an increase in leukemia and other ailments.

WASTE FROM DISPOSAL (also called E-Waste)

An international study by Global Waste (see link below) concluded that the world dumped a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste last year. To put that in perspective this is equivalent to the weight of 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2, To make matters worse, just 17 per cent (approximately) of it was recycled, meaning that an estimated $57 billion worth of gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials used as components were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.

Planned Obsolescence – One important factor exacerbates the issue of E-Waste – Planned Obsolescence. This is the well documented fact that some of the world’s biggest companies have been selling products either knowing full well that they will only last a couple of years or having deliberately built a short lifespan into the item or its software. As an example, in the US – Apple paid millions to users related to allegations that software updates caused older iPhones – such as the iPhone 6, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus – to slow down.

This is perhaps why the average time an individual keeps a smartphone is reckoned to be between two and three years. Astonishingly, according to EU research, the average lifetime of desktop printers is a mere five hours and four minutes of actual printing time. This is simply scandalous. However, a push back movement is developing – see link below on the “Right To Repair” movement.

While the overall damage done to the environment from all the unrecycled waste may be incalculable, the message from the Global Waste report was conclusive: “The way in which we produce, consume and dispose of e-waste is unsustainable.”

IS IT WORTH IT?

One wonders – where is all this headed? Even though we managed in the past, there is no doubt our world can no longer function without the internet and the associated technology. It allows people to be connected globally, it allows much better access to education, it allows rapid processing of data and an unprecedented ability for predictive science. Data storage and retrieval is many orders of magnitude better than before such digital powers were commonplace.

But in my view – and shared by many evaluating society — it is TOO MUCH. Do we need technology to open and close our curtains, to track the ‘best before’ dates of food in our fridges or to continuously monitor our back yards with a video cam? Do we need to see what our friends are having for dinner or watch silly pet videos or teenagers dancing in what should be their private spaces? Even more detrimental is the accelerated spread of misinformation and disinformation. I firmly believe that without the nonsense on Facebook etc., there would be much less resistance to the safe and effective CoVid vaccines.

Digital technologies have given rise to a new machine-based civilization that is increasingly linked to a growing number of social and political maladies. Accountability is weak and insecurity is endemic, creating disturbing opportunities for exploitation. Moreover, society is well entrenched in an era of surveillance capitalism. The companies at the core of the social media revolution — Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like — vacuum up our personal data turning us into products for sale.


THE ANSWER – A BIG RESET: The manufacture, use and disposal of technology products is unstainable. Moreover, the benefits to society are being offset by many detrimental aspects. I believe that less is more. A great reset is needed to restore the initial intention of the internet. There is a very definite need for this massive industry to be much better regulated in all ways. Ron Deibert is Chair of the “The Citizen Lab”, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. I agree with this conclusion in a CBC article about his research “In order to combat authoritarian practices, environmental degradation, and rampant electronic consumerism, Deibert urges restraints on tech platforms and governments to reclaim the internet for civil society” (see link below to Ron Deibert’s book).

https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-is-a-digital-carbon-footprint/

https://www.army.mil/article/227715/an_elemental_issue

https://globalewaste.org/publications/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/global-ewaste-monitor-2020-1.5634759

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/02/apple-iphone-slow-throttling-lawsuit-settlement

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/23/climate/right-to-repair.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/15/the-right-to-repair-planned-obsolescence-electronic-waste-mountain