Tag Archives: obsolescence

Profits vs warming

Grumpy isn’t really a mobile phone person, and has to admit to never have taken a ‘selfie’. [In fact, for nerds, he is POP3 rather than IMAP based, and doesn’t even have access to e-mail on his phone. He uses it to , errr, make phone calls.]

However, from time to time he needs to install an App (for example for his alarm system), but on seeking to do so is informed that he should install a later version of Android. His trusty Samsung Galaxy S3 currently runs Android 4.3, however, and it cannot be updated, so no App.

Similarly, his iPad, an alternative vehicle for the alarm system App, gives a similar message; however, that too, running IoS 9.3.5 also cannot be updated.

So he owns two perfectly functional hardware devices (which in all likelihood have the potential for many years life in them) which have to be replaced. They are now effectively worthless, and their fate is inevitably disposal i.e. trashing. How can we, at this time in history, design (or even allow) commercial strategies deliberately calculated to create unnecessary waste?

There is a mismatch here between the mealy mouthed platitudes of corporates and governments with regard to their ecological credentials and the reality of policies which drive enforced obsolescence. If there really is an “emergency” which is shortly to result in the drowning of New York and London, and instigate global mass migration on a scale never before seen in history, it does seem anomalous that as a species we permit policies which are specifically designed to drive unnecessary mass consumption of resource, including the precious rare earth metals used in electronic devices.

The bottom line is that, whilst large swathes of the population pay lip services to the implications of climate change and cheer on Greta T, they are simply not prepared accept the radical and truly unprecedented changes to our way of life inevitably implied by it. Sadly, Donald Trump recognises this, and thus finds willing followers for his actions to roll back the tentative steps to mitigate warming already made in the USA, without whose full acceptance warming will take place whatever the rest of the world does.

It does not bode well.