This month’s WIRED cover story, “Attention Environmentalists” makes the case that all environmental issues are irrelevant compared to the impending global warming crisis. The argument focuses on how we should abandon organics, extinction, eco-balance all in favor of reducing carbon footprints. Ten controversial examples are given in typical technical geeky fashion, but in reality WIRED’s editors fail miserably in their attempt to make meaningful change towards the environmental effort.
Climate change is not a discrete issue; it’s a symptom of larger problems.
How true. Imprisoning drug dealers has done little to reduce the widespread use of crack cocaine, heroine, crystal meth and other illegal drugs. A wildly different metaphor? I think not. Both are human behavioral issues. And both answers — those suggested by WIRED! and the War on Drugs — address the symptoms, not the societal behavioral issues.
With the environment, the behavioral issue is to deal with the consequences rather than the thoughtless consumption of the world’s resources for today’s needs. Tomorrow’s future has been sacrificed. The end result is a destroyed environment — polluted waters, destroyed air, horrific global warning, extinct animals, etc., etc. The entire global ecosystem is endangered, of which global warming is one of the most pressing of many systematic failures.
WIRED! – arguably the technology industry’s most important magazine — should be commended for even extending the issue beyond environmentalists (in general, the magazine has been increasing its eco-coverage over the past year), but coverage needs to be more responsible. Publishing Steffan’s counterpoint was a good step; however, the actual article needs significant improvement. Instead we are dealt ten forms of technological bravado that’s not fully researched, and often borders on buffoonery. Consider this audacious statement:
…take Stewart Brand’s advice from the opening page of Whole Earth Catalog: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” We’re in charge here. Let’s get to work.
Sensational, testosterone-driven, type-A machoism like this may energize the ubergeek to address dramatic eco-wrongs. Yet, as a leading magazine WIRED! owes its readers more factual, responsible approaches to this critical issue. If you can look beyond the inherently flawed theory behind the article, some — not all — of the suggestions could be worthwhile.
Ironically, in the same magazine on page 174, WIRED founder Louis Roseto in a 15-year self congratulatory article writes:
But we underestimated how slowly Old Media would auger in — and how irresponsible it would become in its death throes…. Faced with fierce competition for those eyeballs, Old Media is hawking the apocolypse…
Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.
Related Buzz Bin Article: No Altruism in Green PR