2 September 2014

COMMENT: Be a hoarder, save the planet

September welcomes Waste Less, Live More Week

My first computer was a  Commodore Amiga 500. The year was 1991 and Christmas Day would be forever remembered as one of the best ever. My parents got me the pack that contained The Simpsons game where Bart battles aliens, and also the Captain Planet game which allowed kids to literally kick CO2's arse. I miss it all; the groan of the loading floppy drive, the starkness of those 32 glorious colours, and the speckled sheen of the sun-faded beige plastic casing. I threw it away in 2008.

My first mobile phone was a Nokia 3210. It was a great phone and led the charge in the late 90s pay-as-you-go teenage revolution. It had a battery that seemed to last a month, a screen that boasted 84 X 84 pixels, the game of Snake (the nonstop playing of which severely affected my A Level grades, but who cares?), text messages displayed individually instead of by contact, and changeable covers. I threw it away in 2005.

I've been thinking of these great technological milestones lately, because from 22nd-28th September it is Waste Less, Live More Week, a time dedicated to holding onto our older gadgets and a celebration of up-cycling. The week aims to get us appreciating our erstwhile and older model stuff, and Sugru have made an awesome video which pretty much sums it up:

It got me thinking how easy it is to toss out things which, although still work fine, are not the very latest model. I dread to think of all the fridges out there propping up landfill sites because their ex-owners didn't like the fact that the fridge couldn't connect to the internet like their neighbour's does. How many perfectly good light bulbs are sitting in skips in favour of a Philips Hue? How many damn plug sockets are in bins thanks to newer automated units from Lightwave? Oh the humanity!

The opening scene from WALL-E springs to mind (probably one of the best ever cinematic openers) and I can soon imagine little robots scurrying around our feet, collecting discarded cookers and washing machines that were incompatible with the 'Internet of Everything'. Even seemingly high-tech objects like smartphones will be cast out onto the streets, because they couldn't be upgraded beyond Android 4.4 KitKat.

We'll wade through all the accumulated detritus, and despite the billions of pounds of technology around us, we'll rush off to view the latest iPhone model, chucking our older model (which we bought brand new three months previously) in the river, disgusted to touch something soooo out of date.

Eventually the WALL-E cleaning robots will turn on us, tired as they are at constantly clearing up our waste. They'll get angry that we never thought to upgrade them, and the pleasant cuteness of a Pixar film will resolve into the apocalyptic horrors of The Terminator. We'll be hunted down like the feckless morons we are, desperately searching for an app to download that destroys killer robots.

Once cleansed of all human life the earth will become the domain of the robots, who after several vital updates, will live in peace and harmony. Until one robots updates himself slightly higher than the others, and so begins the desire to constantly upgrade and improve, with robots fearing that they might get left behind in the digital quagmire. Obsolete robots will be cast out and wasted, necessitating the need for a lesser breed of robots who will be charged with cleaning up all the out-of-date technology... AND SO IT BEGINS AGAIN!

But back in the present I really miss both my old Nokia and Amiga and I wish I'd held onto them. So join  me in a celebration of our older stuff and thank them for all the good times.

Visit http://loveyourstuff.sugru.com/

Howard Mosley-Chalk is Editor of The Test Pit, a freelance writer and a journalist. Follow him on Instagram.

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