It’s not unusual for the younger generations consider their elders, typically of their parents age, as selfish, having emphasised their personal comfort and favouring a society of unrestrained consumption. All of this by destroying precious natural resources and by creating numerous sources of pollution.
It’s here that we find the crux of the debate. The sources of pollution were until now, obvious: cars, planes, central heating etc. all of which are easily identifiable, as well as “culpable” as those which had caused this way of life.
The youth that, some of the time, don’t hesitate to give lessons in morality to the ‘aged’, should perhaps take into consideration other sources of pollution, often exiled or invisible since they are out of sight.
Here are some simple examples I want to mention:
- Sending 30 emails, with attachments costs as much, in energy as well as pollution as driving a car 100km;
- Sending at least one less e-mail thanking the sender, over the French population, would equate to removing 4000 Diesel cars from the market per year;
- 10% of electrical energy in Europe is consumed by datacentres;
- Watching a streamed film consumes as much as 100amps per hour;
- Opening (and only this, without scrolling) WhatsApp equates to driving a diesel car 13 metres.
I could lengthen this list indefinitely and risks omitting other pertinent factors. For example, that 90% of energy consumed by a smartphone (1.5 billion unit sold per year) is generated outside of their fabrication (the components stretching on average 4 times around the planet) without mentioning the cost of recycling and its impact on health.
The worst of all, however, as it often is, is left for last. Every 2 days, the world’s population produces as much information as it has generated since the dawn of its existence back in 2003. Of course, one can hope that among this mass of data, are the works of the new Plato, Einstein and Proust, it is nevertheless more likely that the majority is composed of spam, smileys, cat videos, mindless articles, moronic and (unfortunately) mundane comments.
So, this is what I think and what I believe: history often repeats itself in an ironic way, the chances are that the current sanctimonious youth will be caught up by their children’s generation with the same grievances and criticisms…compounded by the fact that they can’t deny, this time, they know all too well the impact of their actions.
by Doğan Erbek and STF Team