Steve Roy

On a weekly basis I’m blown away by how much we let companies like Google and Facebook get away with. Two speeches I heard this week highlight my views on this.

The Internet can be a better place than this. It must be.

Good to see The Guardian’s editorial on Friday that made clear they are siding against polluters in the ongoing discussions around the climate crisis. They call it “days of reckoning” and I love this kind of tone. It’s coming up more and more lately. I’m also thinking of Greta Thunberg’s “Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”

My wife is reading Silence, a romance from the 13th century, and this passage seems prescient:

Assets are worth much less than manure:
at least dung enriches the soil,
but the wealth that is locked away
is a disgrace to the man who hoards it.

We should remember that, in the light of a changing Earth, as humanity needs to get away from capitalism and back to the root of what sustains it.

Thoughtful words from Michael Chabon, who is stepping down as Chairman of the Board of the MacDowell Colony, about the place of art in today’s world. Surprise, it’s not to make the world a better place. Click through for the full account.

These feel like such dire times, times of violence and dislocation, schism, paranoia, and the earth-scorching politics of fear. Babies have iPads, the ice caps are melting, and your smart refrigerator is eavesdropping on your lovemaking.

 

Today was an incredible day of action in Canada with Montreal leading the way and Toronto showing a huge energetic crowd.

Now I dare hope that this show of resolve will convince at least some voters to make climate the number one electoral issue, if not the candidates that they cannot get elected without strong climate plans.

250 academics from Australian universities publicly endorse the Extinction Rebellion movement:

“When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship,” the letter says.

“The ‘social contract’ has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty, to rebel to defend life itself.”

Greta Thunberg’s speech at the U.S. Congress was really good. In a genius move, she painted the United States as “the country of dreams” and made references to Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. And then she brought everything back to reality:

But the problem we are facing is not that we lack the ability to dream, or to imagine a better world. The problem now is that we need to wake up. It’s time to face the reality, the facts, the science.

All of it is worth a read but I can’t help quoting some more of it here. About our chances of succeeding in tackling the climate problem, she said:

I guess that hardly any of you have heard that there is a 50 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise […]

So a 50 per cent chance – a statistical flip of a coin – will most definitely not be enough. That would be impossible to morally defend. Would anyone of you step onto a plane if you knew it had more than a 50 per cent chance of crashing? More to the point: would you put your children on that flight?

In a speech delivered in the United States, she brilliantly referred to the “united science”:

And why is it so important to stay below the 1.5 degree limit? Because that is what the united science calls for, to avoid destabilising the climate […]

I love how she schooled them on the IPCC report:

So where do we begin? Well I would suggest that we start looking at chapter 2, on page 108 in the IPCC report that came out last year.

On the carbon budget that we have left before catastrophe is irreversible:

Four-hundred and twenty Gt of CO2 left to emit on 1 January 2018 […]. Now that figure is already down to less than 360 Gt.

These numbers are very uncomfortable. But people have the right to know. And the vast majority of us have no idea these numbers even exist.

I’m both amazed and grateful that she has this opportunity to say all of those things in such a clear and impactful way.

Today my wife gave her university English class students an extra credit assignment on the climate crisis. The writing prompt?

Write 1-2 pages about what happens with the world after the Global Climate Strike taking place September 20-27, 2019.

This can be dystopian, utopian, science fiction, or even someone’s journal entry expressing themselves about the future. Was the Climate Strike a success? A failure? Why?

Can’t wait to read the submitted pieces! ❤️

This is your reminder that most of the usual services on the Internet track you and own your data, so try more ethical alternatives.

I don’t use Google, I use DuckDuckGo instead. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, but I’m on Mastodon. I’m not on Instagram, I’m on PixelFed. A lot of people are on these services and it’s growing.

Another things is that you can have total control over who you follow, what you read and in what order. Try an RSS reader. I‘ve been using Feedly for years to aggregate the sites and people I’m interested in and it’s lovely.

And you know what? Without Google/Facebook/etc, life goes on just fine. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.

I was in Georgia last weekend and I learned that the general minimum wage is $7.25, with tipped workers being treated to a lofty $2.13. Two fucking bucks. That’s just 29% of the general wage, and that means the employer of a full time waiter/waitress is only on the hook for about $4,400 for the entire year. Blows my mind. Compare and contrast with Ontario, where I live, with the tipped vs general minimum wage ratio is $12.20 / $14 so about 87%.

Today I set up my dad’s browser to use DuckDuckGo instead of Google. Less tracking and data collection is good for anyone but especially the less computer-savvy, so we’ll see how he likes it.

I looked it up and I think I’ve been using DuckDuckGo since 2012 and made it my default search engine not long after. Didn’t realize it had been that long!

Fracking is such a weird idea. Not content to pollute and mess with the very air that we depend on for survival, why not also destabilize the very ground we stand on? Makes perfect sense.

</sarcasm>

I read today that people cried to see Notre-Dame go up in flames but few tears are being shed over the Amazon forest and I couldn’t agree more.

I’m also appalled that most of what I hear is throwing the Brazilian government under the bus. But all countries are watching this disaster and doing nothing.

“How can we help?” is what I want to hear. The Earth and the Amazon belong to all of us. We should offer help, money, resources and people to make things right.