Stefano Picker

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Democracy, Internet… and sun!

January 29, 2011 New energy

Perhaps it’s because none of my history teachers has ever carried out the program beyond World War II… but as a kid I used to think that we lived in a fair and peaceful era.

Unfortunately we are still very far from that. Today I happened to watch the news on TV (something I had got used to absolutely avoid as I lived in Italy, where the few remaining independent journalists can only write on the Internet), and I found a very personal connection among the following facts:

Internet and the mobile phones have been shut down in Egypt to curb the on-going protests, because most rioting demonstrators had used the social networks as primary means of organization;

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has defended the austerity measures of his government and urged the whole Europe to follow;

between 18,000 and 30,000 liters of petroleum are polluting one of the most beautiful shores of Sardinia, but most Italian newspapers are not reporting the fact at all. Meanwhile the “usual mighty” are planning to build new nuclear plants and keep pushing the consumption of fossil fuels, in agreement with the government led by a man whose life has been a relentless journey across the Italian Penal Code (the latest allegation being exploitation of child prostitution).

I felt so sad. Internet is the only remaining hope of a young generation which was expected to live in silence and ignorance, to be entertained and misinformed, to pay for the privileges of those who literally burned every possible resource and loaded the public balance sheets with unbelievable debts in the last fifty years or so, and now either enjoy fat and unsustainable pensions or keep leading supposedly democratic countries.

Of course this is true with different gradations across the world. Nonetheless, it’s increasingly clear that even the most enlightened democracies are pursuing interests far from the real needs of their people, because no one dares either touching the so-called vested rights (even when they’re clearly unfair) or leading a real change of course over the way our productive systems are run. The protection of jobs is the usual excuse to safeguard the economical status quo and turn us all into the proverbial boiling frog.

For example, it turns out that within 6 hours the world’s deserts receive more energy from the sun than humanity consumes in a year (source), and that we don’t need new technologies to exploit it (source) but only the political will.

Does anyone believe that the huge required investment wouldn’t be worth it, considered the increasing devastation that fossil fuels and global warming are spreading across the planet?

If you’re reading this article, you probably don’t… But you’re a young person who surfs the Web, which means you’re not part of any majority able to elect governments and run the world.

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