As one of the organizers of the next World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC), to be held in June of 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden, I was asked to introduce some of the key topics to be addressed during the congress at the European Environmental Education Days (Bergamo, Italy, September 24-25, 2014). Since it was a bit consuming in terms of time and energy… we agreed that I would record my talk here in Gothenburg where I am currently part of my time. In the talk I use the release of the iPhone 6 as an entry point to talk about the complexity of socio-ecological challenges that are compounded by a dominating neo-liberal view of economics. I end the talk by briefly touching upon some of the main themes of the congress. The conference website at http://www.weec2015.org has just opened its abstract submissions feature and people can submit their abstracts until mid-December. Environmental and sustainability education will need to go hand in hand if we are to make a transition towards a healthier, more equitable, just and mindful society that does not further compromise the carry-capacity of planet Earth.
The talk was posted today on youtube here</a
American media-theorist Douglas Rushkoff sheds an interesting light on the digital age and its consequences for our relationship with the ‘now’ and with ‘others’. Companies are competing with each other for what he calls our ‘eye-ball’ attention. We are constantly seduced to use ICTs and it is turning us into restless creatures with short attention spans who are constantly providing clues to corporations as to what we like, prefer, desire, etc. “Big data” and constant streams of cookies are informing businesses (and, indeed, governments) about what we are thinking and these businesses and governments are anticipating this by offering us what we want, essentially guiding us into pre-fabricated futures. Do you find it hard to BE in one place without your mind wondering off to somewhere else?
In a fascinating near-monologue with powerful examples and a touch of irony and humour Rushkoff urges us to reclaim the now, the flow of time, the possibility of meaning and as sense of place and belonging. In his book Present Shock, When Everything Happens Now Rushkoff argues that we are all suffering from the five syndroms that belong to the ‘always-on-society’. We need to be reacheable 24/7 but are constantly alienated from the now and each other (and let me add the physical places of which we are part including nature, aw). A call for ‘digital detox’.
Note this is from Tegenlicht (April 13, 2014) from the Dutch TV station VPRO – click the link and wait for the programme to start – Rushkoff speaks to us in English (with Dutch subtitles. Very worthwhile if you have…. time… (NOTE The first minute or so is in Dutch when the interviewer introduces Ruskoff to the Dutch viewers, but then Rushkoff takes over – listen, shiver and learn).
p.s. this post links to an earlier post on “Growth fatigue and innovation saturation” from 2013.