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Archive for August, 2013

Internet, I love you, but you need some goddamn perspective

When Ben Affleck was announced as the new Batman, the internet exploded. Tweets, memes, and even a petition to remove him from the movie, which was signed over 66,000 times.

Damn, I didn’t knew this much people actually cared about who would play a fictional superhero.

Perhaps we could just wait until we actually see the movie before outing all the posh hatred.

 

Earlier this year, there were two things happening simultaneously in the Netherlands. First, our queen abdicated, and gave the throne to her son. An official song was made, and people hated it. They hated it with a passion. At this same time, the 2013 meat adulteration scandal started and it appeared that supermarkets where selling beef which had hidden horse meat in it. Lots of discoveries were made, but the most telling one came from an employee from a meat processing company, who said that meat past the expiry date was simply mixed with other meat, and provided with a new date sticker, and consequently sold.

Guess what got most attention?
The song.
An online petition attracted over 40,000 signatures.
It was just a song, not a very good one, but a song it is.

 

And, in 2013, EA Games won the ‘Worst Company of the Year’ award for a second year in a row, ahead of banks and oil companies, so it got me wondering; is EA Games really the worst company?

Apparently, spilling thousands of litres of crude oil into the oceans and bankrupting millions of people will not get you the award. It seems, that all you have to do is make a bad ending to a video game.

EA Games isn’t really worse than Halliburton, which in 2013 destroyed evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, or ExxonMobil, which caused the Mayflower oil spill, spilling more than 1.1 million litres of crude oil in the middle of Arkansas, poisoning entire communities’ ground water. EA isn’t worse than the Bank of America, that committed mortgage fraud that cost tax payers millions of dollars. And it’s not worse than Monsanto, which is destroying our food supply with its short-term business strategy

EA Games isn’t really worse than all those companies.

Yet, once more, the collective internet lacks perspective.
Perhaps the contest should have been named ‘most hated online-company in the United States’, since it only shows how annoyed the internet is with a certain brand at the moment. More than anything else, it turned out to be a measurement of internet opinion.

I just think it’s rather terrifying to see how the internet has become a place of hypes. Hypes aren’t a bad thing, but meaningless ones kind off are. Perhaps next time you want to give your voice to something (and jump on a bandwagon), have some perspective and think about meaningful subjects, like Monsanto, the chemical warfare in Syria, or what’s happening now in Egypt.

Heck, there are a million things happening right now that are more important than who’s to play the next Batman.

 

Earth Overshoot Day

Today is the day in the year when humans consumed more than the Earth can produce in one whole year. Known as Earth Overshoot Day, it shows that in 8 months, we exhausted our planet’s ecological budget for the year.

Like a bank account shows the deficit of income against expenditures, our planet’s account is in firm negative, year after year. Our world would have to be roughly 1.5 times bigger than it is now, to support our consumption. To formulate it differently; we’re consuming 1.5 Earth’s.

The first Earth Overshoot Day, also known as Ecological Debt Day, was on the calendar in 1987, and it was only at December the 19th then. Still, it has moved earlier and earlier since then.┬áIn 1993, it fell on October 21, and in 2003 on September 22, yet this year, it’s August 20.

Given current trends in consumption Earth Overshoot Day arrives a few days earlier each year, yet I do believe we can turn it around, but only if we stop thinking we can rely on technology to save the planet. It’s behavioural change that will, and it will have to come from ourselves.

 

Overheard at a local car dealer, a little kid to his dad;
‘When I’m going to buy a car, it has to be at least energy label B’.

So I put my hope on that kid, and hope more kids will grow up like that.