Green consumerism

With oil prices up, it’s become a fashion to “go green”. Unfortunately, I see quite a few misguided attempts (such as this one) - whereby the conclusion seems to be: let’s throw out non-green X and replace it with green Y.

What I don’t see, is information about the level of energy / raw material waste required for the production of goods. It’ a bit like adding insult to injury: first we become responsible for a hugely wasteful production and transportation process by buying some flashy new X, and then we become doubly wasteful by discarding the product well before it has ceased being useful.

I just don’t get it. We drive a Volkswagen Golf which is definitely not the best in terms of gasoline economy, but I wouldn’t dream of getting rid of it after 7 years of fantastic, enjoyable service. It’s fast, it’s gorgeous, it’s luxurious. Yet I think we qualify as having a respectably low “carbon footprint” - to use that phrase-du-jour. How? By driving less. How about technology in the house, then? That too: we turn stuff off. Genius, eh?

There used to be such great solutions ages ago. Such as power-cords which can be unplugged, and switches embedded in the power cord, before the power bricks. Remotes to control stuff are wonderful. But to turn stuff on and off? C’mon, get a life. Or better yet - get up and, ehm ... walk?

I can’t stop recommending this 11-minute TED presentation by Chris Jordan.

And to get back to computers: if you’re looking for an always-on server, have a look at Bubba. It’s a full Linux setup, with all the extensibility of Debian built in, right out of the box (the manual includes info on how to get SSH access, it’s not some hidden-on-reflash feature). I’m using a similar, but less streamlined, setup based on an NSLU2, and it does SVN, iTunes music, even handles Time Machine backups. On roughly a kilowatt per week.

Oh, and remind me to also rant about noise levels, one day :)