I have been humming and hawing (and then, much worse, humming again) for a while now about whether I should buy a more modern smart phone. My phone seems to have developed a form of early on-set dementia and is rather unresponsive both to being spoken to nicely, or prodded and poked. It is clearly no longer "smart" although it does still send and receive calls. Whilst I can remember that this is what phones were once for, that seems a very long time ago.
But the makers of smart phones are filthy rich, market-exploiting capitalists – so much so that it's something of a surprise to find young people using phones, given their antipathy towards both social injustice and unequal wealth distribution. They are also, we're told, rapers and pillagers of the Earth, exploiting indigenous people to get at the rare earths that phones are full of these days, leaving environmental devastation and social turmoil in their wake, and then exploring the sweated labour of the masses who make the things. I know all this must be the case because NGOs say so on social media.
But what am I to do given that my phone's not much good anymore for all those modern, essential uses?
Well, I was still H&Hing when the latest Transformative Learning blog arrived. It featured an interview with Arjen Wals who explored in some detail the pros and cons of smart phone ownership and use. You can see it here.
About 1 minute 40 into this video, came the answer to my dilemma. Notwithstanding all the social and environmental evils that a phone embodies (it's really like have a VW car in your pocket), you can offset all this it seems by using the phone to help you live a more sustainable life. For example, Wals said, by using apps that make car pooling or tool sharing easier, that enable the mapping of local biodiversity, or which allow you to monitor CO2 emissions and air quality.
Given my absolute intentions to use the phone to pursue social and environmental justice, and not just fritter my time away on Twitter or Facebook, this good intention completely overcomes any problems from the smart phone's huge environmental and social footprint. Phew! Thank you Transformative Learning for providing such a smart justification for a purchase.