A big problem with Facebook is it’s algorithm. While many people still think they see their friend’s and family’s stati in chronological order, Facebook actually only shows you what you have proven to react to. Therefore, over the last couple of years I did see a lot of posts about technology and environmental protection. And some of these posts combined those two topics.
Generally I’d say it’s a good thing if technology helps us live in harmony with our planet if it is sustainable. I think it’s the future.
Parts of Germany are 100% running on renewable energy – like solar or wind power – already. I was surprised to find, the province of Austria (Lower Austria) I was born in is on 100% renewable energy. So are Iceland and Norway. Shockingly development countries are far ahead of the rest of the world: Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay; All 100% on renewable energy! Here’s the full list.
Robots plant trees, clever systems grow organic food indoors on autopilot, solar panels are refinancing themselves after only a few years (in comparison to decades for nuclear reactors that are far from modern or safe by the time they are paid off) and some geniuses already imagined the cities of the future, running for the people, instead of the other way around.
Artificial Intelligence technology has skyrocketed in advances since January of 2016 and it’s only a matter of time since we will be sitting in self driving, sustainable cars.
I don’t think we need to go back to the age of agriculture in order to live in harmony with nature. As long as we use our technology the right way.
However, I do get posts that worry me a little too, on my Facebook stream. Posts that are camouflaged as positive news, when they actually might cause more damage than good.
Very recently I got an article about robotic bees. It fascinates me, how we have managed to get to a point where we create robots of this tiny size – and smaller. After all, if you put the time between the big bang and today onto a scale of 24h, we have only existed a mere 3 seconds.
These robotic bees are meant to put a solution to a lack of pollination due to the dying of bees. Bee keepers from all over the world have seen a decrease of their colonies ranging from 30% to 90%. Without the pollination by bees, we would loose many plants we rely on for our food.
We are not entirely sure what’s causing this rapid dying. But it is a serious threat to our own survival.
While I think that there is a place for these outstanding, tiny robots, I do believe that, as a solution for our pollination crisis they are the dark side of technology.
This post reminded me of another one I found years ago. It was about a robotic tree, trying to solve the climate change crisis. Just to clarify, bees are not the only thing where this dark side is at play. But how are those two connected?
Our technological advancements are outstanding. There is no doubt about that. It’s incredible, we managed to create a robot that does photosynthesis, eats CO2 and produces fresh air. It’s incredible that we are capable of creating tiny flying robots that would be capable of pollinating plants. And I do believe that those advances will be just another milestone in history.
However, using a robot tree to be able to ignore the fact that we shred football field sized areas of the rain forest within one second, is a tough call.
Inventing fake bees to prevent the human race from doomsday only tears away a part of us, that’s essential to who humans are: Humanity.
Inventing fake trees and fake bees automatically makes us more ignorant to other life forms. It’s not like anybody tries to be an ass. But knowing that we won’t die if bees die, will make us care less about the problem in general. Our evolution is secured.
But the evolution of bees isn’t. And neither the evolution of the rain forest.
Inventing robotic bees and trees proves our capability of logical thinking and creativity. But it does not emphasize on human empathy.
While we send metal bees out there, there are millions of bee hives dying! That means a couple more races of animals go extinct, we won’t have (at least natural) honey anymore, and one suspected cure for HIV (in bee venom) will be forever lost. While we put up robotic trees, we will eventually run out of an important raw material: Wood. Not only that. We kill shitloads of animals in the process, since they rely on real trees to live. Not to mention that looking at trees has a soothing effect on our own psyche.
While solar panels and wind generators and tree-planting robots all work in harmony with mother nature, robotic bees and robotic trees replace nature.
Artificial bees and trees are not the solution to the root of the problem. They are the solution to one of the smallest twigs of the problem. A solution to a symptom of the problem.
Healing the symptoms of an illness instead of the cause will bring you new problems. When you break your arm and take pain killers as the only means of help, your will soon have built up a resistance to pain killers, they will attack your brain and your arm will not heal properly. More problems caused than resolved.
This is not only true for environmental problems but for pretty much any problem out there. Sickness, poverty, social problems, war, ect.
It’s not only true for global problems but also for problems in your every day life. A fight with your partner, you being single for the longest time, your financial problems, your health problems, ect.
This is often a scary endeavour and takes a lot of time and trial and error. Most people will shy away from it, because it will reveal their darkest characteristics to them. Nobody likes to look into the mirror and see the monster they have hidden inside of themselves.
But knowing the monster as well as you possibly can, also enables you to turn it into something beautiful. And doing so can turn your entire life upside down.
Why did it take me years to try to live without plastic waste? Because I had to face a monster first. In our world it’s not the easy way to live without plastic. I always said I would like to do it, but I can’t because of this and that. Blah blah. All excuses. I faced two of my monsters. They were well hidden under this layer of excuses. The wish for comfort can make us ignorant. Also, an experiment like this is scary. What if I fail? I had to see my ignorance and my fear of failure before I could resolve them and start doing the thing I stopped myself from doing for years.
And resolving my ignorance and fear of failure in regards to this topic, will weaken them for other topics in my life too. I will learn that I can only succeed if I face my fears and my ignorance. The next time it will be easier to spot them.
BOOM. Growth of a human being!
In my relationships I always tended to be very clingy. I have lost a lot of beautiful people in my life because of this. Facing that I am a clingy person is hard. And diving into this problem is even harder. Where does this character trait come from? It’s origins are probably in my childhood. A single-mother who didn’t have much time for cuddle time with the son, since she had to fight for our survival and simply never knew this concept of closeness in her own family. But my mum alone is not to blame. And there is no point in blaming anyway.
I have not found the perfect solution to this problem yet. But simply looking at it and confronting the depths of it made me grow in other aspects already. Simply being aware of the problem makes me act differently, trying not to let it rule my life. Without having found the solution to the problem, I already started getting better simply because I looked at it.
What is it that you wanted to do for ages but never could because you ignored the root of what kept you from doing it? What problems do you have in your life and could they all be caused by the same root problem?
Coming back to the bees, we will try to look at the root cause for their dying. As said above, we aren’t sure what causes it. But there is a good chance there are several factors playing together, one of them being the biggest. And that one is actually the root for illnesses in humans, the reason why our soil goes dead and we can’t farm on it anymore, turning it into wasteland and one reason for global warming itself.
Let’s see what we are dealing with, alright?
So the death of bees is probably mainly caused by parasites and human pesticides.
Pesticides are not only deadly to plant parasites, but also to insects that do indeed help us. Not only that.
Pesticides support global warming, they make humans unhealthy (you are eating that stuff!) and – together with a few other factors – they kill off the bacteria in healthy soil and turn farming fields into wasteland that cannot be used anymore for hundreds of years to come.
Can you see how many twigs grow out of this one problem? Well, what if I told you, that this problem is not the root but merely one branch of another problem?
Why do we still use pesticides? By now we have found more natural solutions to protect our crop. Why don’t we use them?
Money. Modern capitalism builds upon everlasting growth. Which is silly on a planet that doesn’t provide everlasting materials. Modern capitalism is the source for many problems on this planet. The reason we still use poisonous pesticides is because they are simply cheaper. Big companies or even small farmers would lose a lot of growth if they started working in harmony with nature.
But pinning it only on capitalism is too easy. While I think that we have yet to find a better solution to the way we do business today, capitalism has also brought us a lot of good things.
Go deeper. What is it, that turns capitalism dark? Capitalism is merely a tool. A tool for humans. And what is humanities deepest monster, that leads capitalism?
In my eyes, greed is one of the ultimate roots for all evil in the world. We could try to go deeper. How is this greed created? Actually, I think greed and capitalism have gone into a beautiful (or rather ugly) symbiosis, fueling each other.
… as long as we don’t take it as an excuse for not looking at the roots and keeping a very close eye on them.
It’s okay to heal some branches of the problem first if the root seems too big to tackle in the beginning. With every branch you will grow. But don’t try to heal the twigs. Go as deep as you possibly can and you will resolve a couple of symptoms of your ultimate problem.
And please. Don’t let them replace our real bees with robots. Replacing nature is not the solution to the problem. It’s the solution to a symptom. Let’s use technology to protect bees, to plant new trees and at the same time let’s keep a very close eye on those pesticides, capitalism and human greed.
Ignoring the actual problem, because you found a way to cure the symptom, will only enable the problem to grow more symptoms.