J500 Media and the Environment

Savoring the Forbidden Fruit by justinlev7

What is this thing we call the Internet?

No, really. What is it?

dsouza_alanWe use it every day. Networking sites like Facebook let people access anyone, anywhere, in seconds. Google sorts and organizes more words and ideas in a minute than any human can hope to process in her life. Dazzling fortunes are made, used and wasted; overwhelming games and images are developed and stored;  trillions of stories are told.

This thing, this Internet, didn’t even exist 30 years ago. Now, it permeates our media environment. It is the purest manifestation of Enlightenment humanism, an endless library of human knowledge. Anything  and everything mankind has known and recorded probably waits in there like an apple in the Garden, waiting to be plucked and digested by some enterprising individual. It is collective human consciousness, literally resting in the palm of your hand.

Watch this video. You’ll like it.

Internet breakthroughs, like all technology,  advance exponentially. Where is this all leading us?

Some, such as the believers in the Singularity, would say knowledge and resultant technology are advancing to an impossible point where all knowledge will unite in a single ego, and individuality will cease (like at the end of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End.) Admittedly, the idea is a little crazy… but so is the idea that Christ died for our sins, or that Energy might equal Matter times the Speed of Light, squared. Right?

Is the Singularity what the Internet is moving us toward? Perhaps… If so, I think we’d all do well to keep our eyes on that sneaky bugger.

But then, maybe, as Zen Buddhists would tell you, all technology is insignificant. Perhaps the Internet simply is, just as a rock simply is, or a picnic lunch simply is, and the responsible human should relax, observe and contemplate it (try to grok it, to use the words of another ridiculously nerdy author for me to be referencing). After all, humans spend so much time altering their environment…

This spring break, let your environment alter you.

Justin Leverett is done for the week. Shabbat shalom, y’all 🙂

Easier said than done by mindeeforman
November 6, 2008, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , , , , ,

Communicating with someone on an issue I care deeply about without getting emotional is hard.

While researching the faith-based constituency I came across a comparison chart on Obama and McCain’s Global Warming Policies produced by the League of Conservation Voters. It was timely and I’m addicted to Facebook, so I posted it to my profile as a something interesting.

Facebook being what it is, I got some comments from a girl who was in my freshman dorm in college. She’s a very nice person whose theology I would classify as very conservative if not “religious right.” For example, her comments opened with, “This is interesting, but I think it all boils down to whether or not global warming actually exists.”

My gut reaction was to reply, “WHAT?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? COME ON!!!” I initially responded with mostly facts, then backed up and tried some of the relating tactics we learned in class. “Your statements about polar ice caps with more ice and a heavier winter are interesting – I hadn’t heard that before. Can you tell me more? I want to understand where you’re coming from…” I attempted to be diplomatic and listen to what she thinks, rather than just judging and getting emotional. I even employed pieces of the messaging and pitches we’ve developed for the CEP.

Will it work? Time will tell – she hasn’t responded yet. She’s a nice test case for our faith messaging, so I’m grateful. I made a point of being thoughtful, relevant, and trying things from her point of view instead of letting emotions dictate my response. And it was hard.

-Mindee Forman

Jesus is coming. Look busy. by Lauren Keith

Photo from HouseofDavid.

Are you there, God? It’s me, global warming.

When I logged on to Facebook yesterday, I was disturbed to see that my two least favorite things (organized religion and Yahoo! Inc.) have friend requested my best buddy, the Green Movement.

And the Green Movement accepted their friend request.

In a story posted yesterday on Yahoo! Green (which I had no idea existed until 12 hours ago), the Catholics’ second-in-command declared pollution a sin.

According to the article, the Pope has made a decent fuss about environmental problems, enough so to scare some churches to invest in eco-palms for this year’s Palm Sunday.

As much as I disagree with everything else the Pope stands for, I like seeing a major religion acknowledge and combat the climate crisis. In fact, Vatican announced plans last summer to become the world’s first carbon-neutral state. Yahoo’s article said that photovoltaic cells have been installed and that the Church has discussed the consequences of global warming.

Even though pollution is now one of the seven deadly sins, recent studies show that fewer Catholics are attending confession. It’s okay, sinners, the rest of the human race doesn’t want to own up to global warming yet either.

While Catholics only have a few new sins to steer clear of, I’ve compiled the Green Movement’s 10 “Greenmandments” to make sure the rest of us can also avoid eternal damnation.

And Mother Earth did spake:
I: Thou shalt have no other planets before Me.

II: Thou shalt not exploit resources in vain.

III: Thou shalt take a break from electronic devices and unplug them while not in use.

IV: Thou shalt recycle, even if thou must driveth to Wal-Mart in thy carbon dioxide emitting, 10-miles-per-gallon-getting Hummer.

V: Thou shalt not kill animals grown in factory farm conditions.

VI: Thou shalt not sleep with polluters to convert them to thine side.

VII: Thou shalt not steal, because then thou art consuming earthly goods.

VIII: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor’s greenhouse gas emissions.

IX: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s solar panels, greywater irrigation system or organic garden because thou shalt soon have one of thine own.

X: Thou shalt not key thy neighbor’s Prius, even if thou would like to own one or thou knoweth the truth about its origins.

Hallelujah! Praise be with the planet.

—Lauren Keith

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The Apocolypse just called…we’re running out of oil. by Sarah
February 24, 2008, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Waste + Recycling | Tags: , , , ,

With the words “green, oil and global warming” popping up everywhere these days, I am finding that every time I get into my SUV to drive; I am feeling a little more guilty about it. This could possibly also be because every week I am faced with the choice of either buying gas for my car, or eating for a week. Uh, screw that, I’ll eat more potatoes and ride my bike thanks.

You have to admit, it makes you think. In America we use our resources abundantly, and up until now have not given much thought as to what could happen if someday they run out. Take for example, our oil supply. The thought of Americans trying to survive without oil is like college students trying to survive without Facebook. We could live without it, but we are just too used to having it to suddenly lose it. It would be the like the apocalypse.

Here’s the deal: we are running out of oil. The most noticeable way to see this is by taking a trip to your local gas station. No, these prices are not the result of a conspiracy among the oil companies; they are the result of us using too much of it. We peaked our oil production in 2006, and it will only continue to decline.

The good news is, we can make minor adjustments in the way we use energy, and possibly avoid this apocalypse. Instead of driving everywhere ourselves, we can use public transit. Or in my case, I could trade my SUV in for a more fuel efficient car. We can shop and structure our lives to work within walking distances of our homes, or ride a bike. By taking these small steps, instead of living in the present culture we have become accustomed to, we could enter into a post-oil culture that we can be proud of.

-Sarah Nelson

An old sign, but makes a statement for the times we live in.
An old sign, but makes a statement for the times we live in.
Photo: Neato Coolville, Flickr