Technology as if people mattered

A few months ago, new friends of ours came to visit for dinner. So shocked were they by the squat television in our living room that they insisted we accept a flat-screen version they had going spare.

Now, I’m usually of the ‘use it until it wears out’ school when it comes to my possessions and I was quite fond of the old box we had – its colours were still fine, it did its job. It was far from obsolete.

But perhaps a combination of shame at being perceived as Stone Agers, the inability to say no to a gift and the determination of our friends, meant that a few days later they duly delivered an enormous flat-screen job. The perfectly serviceable old faithful was despatched to the municipal recycling point, where proper recycling is likely to be the last thing that happens to it.

Photo: Akintunde Akinleye/ReutersThat box has been on my mind quite a bit, especially as this edition of the New Internationalist magazine is all about technology – appropriate, inappropriate, the excesses of the West, the deprivation of much of the rest.

Also this month, we have coverage of the efforts to declare Ecocide a punishable crime against peace. And a feature on the women fighters of Rojava in northern Syria: democrats and passionate idealists who show a different way is possible even in the direst circumstances.

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