The global conversation about climate change has revolved largely around a single, misguided idea: that we can replace carbon-intensive technologies with cleaner ones and reach the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions without fundamentally altering our economy. In other words, that we can achieve, and indefinitely maintain, green growth.
But a competing narrative argues that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible, and that even supposedly green technologies will perpetuate the extraction of natural resources and the destruction of the natural environment. Even if these technologies help us mitigate climate change to an extent, they might backfire, for example, by disrupting biodiversity. In this narrative, the underlying problem lies not in the so-called cleanliness of our technologies but in our compulsion to keep growing our economies.
Proponents of this second view argue that to preserve the planet, we must reduce our consumption of resources, a strategy that has come to be known as degrowth. This approach calls for us to shrink parts of our economy, and to move away from measures such as gross domestic product as indicators of economic health.
Ultimately, degrowth is inevitable. We will either choose this path voluntarily, or we will be forced into it violently and uncontrollably as a result of environmental disasters. If we want to prevent the suffering and tragedies that accompany such drastic shifts, we must bring about a culture of degrowth. And where the cultural winds blow, the political winds will follow.
Apple announced its Power for Impact initiative in 2019, designed to provide communities with renewable energy while promoting economic and social growth. One of the 10 new Power for Impact projects involves working with the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority in the United States to collaboratively develop renewable energy resources for the wholesale market, with the objective of creating a large-scale wind power development in the Midwest. Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
Every company should be a part of the fight against climate change, and together with our suppliers and local communities, we’re demonstrating all of the opportunity and equity green innovation can bring. We’re acting with urgency, and we’re acting together. But time is not a renewable resource, and we must act quickly to invest in a greener and more equitable future.
Other projects in South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Colombia, and Israel seek to provide renewable energy to healthcare and educational institutions, as well as surrounding households, using rooftop solar installations. Apple believes that this will create a source of local revenue and lower energy costs, freeing up funds for educational scholarships, equipment, and medication.
I’ve been a happy Apple user since 1993ish with a my first Mac, a Color Classic II. I’m really happy that they are not just setting a good example on climate change but that they are setting the best example. And they should given that their success. But many do not attempt even half of what they have. They’re thorough and are leaving nothing un-examined in their engagement with the problem of resource use and climate change.
At the core capitalism is about profit, continual growth and resource use beyond all bounds. I applaud Apple in the effort they are making and hope others follow but it’s not something I expect to happen as it goes against the logic of capitalism as a system. That said, they are proving that it is possible.
Corporate America wants to frame this as a “labor shortage.” Wrong. What’s really going on is more accurately described as a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a healthcare shortage.
Unless these shortages are rectified, many Americans won’t return to work anytime soon. I say it’s about time.
We all admit that our government is corrupt, broken, and generally dysfunctional but as individuals we also are broken and dysfunctional. Looking around during covid we see how irrational people can be. This is how I’ve felt for the past 10+ years, looking around as the climate crisis has become increasingly clear, I see most of the people around me behaving in the same irrational, ludicrous manner. In denial and angry at the notion that they should have to change their lives. They see the irrational behavior today in regards to covid and so many in the US but they don’t really see themselves in the same light in regards to the climate crisis.
I know that we are doomed. All evidence points to that. There is just no way that this huge, broken ship can turn itself around fast enough and I’m trying to accep
Back in the late 90s, Memphis, engaged in a bit of community/neighborhood media activism in the form of micro-radio broadcasting. In this photo we were broadcasting out of the trunk of my car at a local punk rock show. Good times.