Gratitude of the spoiled kids

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For the past month or so I’ve been having some money troubles. I got here as a result of overspending on things I wanted, but did not actually need. It finally got to me and sooner rather than later I had too much month at the end of my salary. It’s nothing serious, nothing wich deserves too much thought or worry.

So here I was eating out with a good friend of mine, confessing and complaining about how broke I am. She’s one of my best friends and as all good friends do, she called me on my bullshit. She argued that if I buy $300 headphones, I should not complain. And there it was, my reality check moment.

Some of us have it so good that sometimes we forget how it is to live in the real world. More often than not we secretly decide to close our eyes, as empathy makes us feel guilty. And of course, we don’t want to feel guilty, we want to feel good and special. We blindly indulge in mindless materialistic desires which have an ever declining satisfaction span. Every time we buy something new we devalue the other things we previously bought, eventually rendering them as meaningless. Like any junkie we want more. There’s never enough. There’s always something better arround the corner. Wink-wink, buy me.

Basic commodities like clean water, food, shelter, comfort are taken for granted. We don’t even conceive that some day we might lack these. We all secretly know that in some places these are recurring struggles of every day life. But we’re special.

Coincidentally, I cam across this website. It’s called Dollar Street and is a collection of pictures from different families of different incomes across the globe. Ranging from monthly incomes of $27 dollars to $15k you can see how life is for others. What surprised me the most was the fact that I thought I would be somewhere in the middle of the scale. It turns out, I am actually in the wealthy side of the scale and browsing through pictures, I realize that my home looks actually a lot better even that homes in my own range. I suddenly stopped feeling broke and begun feeling… like such a douche.

Life isn’t fair sometimes. Some of us start with so little that they have no clue even what a good life means in other parts of the world. Others are dealt better cards in life and because they have it so good, not being able to afford the new iPhone makes them sad.

But let’s be grateful for a moment. We balloted this reality into manifestation. Innocently showing our compassion to gain social gratification, while secretly indulging in our materialistic sins. Unnecessary high-end electronics every few months, low-cost luxury vacations in underdeveloped countries, some guy’s name on our clothes, dozen pair of snickers, pre-cut, pre-cooked, pre-packaged foods, cheaper products, cheaper labor, faster delivery, more screen time, less human interaction, ever connected to the online but increasingly disconnected to humanity. If it’s shiny and others like it, we don’t care what it takes to own it.

FUCK SOCIETY said the spoiled kid as he was closing off his article, written from his MacBook for which he didn’t pay.

Game theory of life

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I wonder, I wonder… What if life is just a game? What if I am part of a very elaborate simulation? Let’s imagine for a second that consciousness is separate from the body. The body is just a vessel, carrying the being inside of it. Consciousness is energy and energy is a property of matter, which in this case is your body.

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

― Albert Einstein

Same as you would control a character in a game, imagine that your consciousness controls your body and governs your decisions. The body is just the hardware of your consciousness. I did not say consciousness like software, as in this analogy consciousness does not behave as software. In the sense that if the hardware were to be destroyed,  consciousness will still continue to exist or manifest, but in another form.

So, you are “assigned” a vessel, with a blank memory and some pre-defined strengths and weaknesses. You manifest in a physical form and start to evolve. You grow tall and strong and your mind is mature enough to make conscious decisions based on autonomy and free will.

Life is the master game, the experience which encapsulates all. You are in the center of that experience. Within the master game, there are smaller sets of games. Some more important than others. Some more complex than others. Some longer in duration than others. Some useful for your evolution, some not. An inception of games.

You are the main player in your storyline. But your storyline is not the only storyline. The game world is big, with many players. Same as you, each other player has its own storyline and has the potential to influence, alter or change other storylines. Including your own.

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As a kid, you know how to play naturally. You play with other kids, which also do it instinctively. As you get older, you learn to play by the rules. You figure out the basic rules as you grow and mature. However, because everything is a game, within a game… go for a walk… within a game, during the course of your experience you have to understand many different rules in order to adapt to the many different games you will be playing during your life. You have the freedom to choose the sagas you prefer the most, but each saga comes with its own unique experience. Ever changing and always dynamic, based on how you play the game. Your experience is in direct connection to your reaction to the game.

As you mature if you’re wise enough, you might get to make the rules for everyone. And when I say “make” I don’t mean that you invent the rules yourself. No, that’s not how it works. The rules are already there. You’re just the clever ape who stopped for a second and observed the natural order of things. By observation, you can present the rules of the game to everyone else. They’ve been doing this all along, just unknowingly. That’s why the rules work, because everyone was playing by the rules all along. It will never work if you present something that isn’t already there. No one would buy into your game. Using that as a base you may be able to alter some storylines, by chnaging the existing rules in very subtle ways.

Life is not just a game. Life is a set of games, which act as a unity to your story line. Whatever you do, never sacrifice victory across a set of games for victory in one game. Never sacrifice your character for wining a game. You can only win if you are invited to play. The more you play the higher chance of success you have. That’s why it’s important to be a fair player. That’s why it’s important to stick to your core values. This makes the difference between a villain and a hero. Both play an equal part, but only one gets to triumph.

Deconstruction of the self

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Who am I?

Am I this body?

Am I how I look?

Am I my name?

Am I an entity associated to a place in society?

Am I the spacetime I was born in?

Am I my family?

Am I the friends I made and the people I’ve touched?

Am I the education I attended?

Am I the job I have and the jobs I had?

Am I my achievements and my failures?

Am I the choices I made and the ones I didn’t?

Am I the good things and the bad things I did?

Am I my likes and dislikes?

Am I what I love and what I fear?

Am I what I feel and what I think?

Am I my qualities and my flaws?

Am I what I built and what I destroied?

Am I what I did, what I’m doing now and what I’m going to do next?

If you knew all these answers, would you really know me?

Is this enough to know someone or do you need more?

What else do you need?

A DNA sample?

A complete and accurate recording of my life?

Would that be enough?

If you had all of this, would you be able to replicate my life, even in a controlled environment?

Can you make another me?

Would you make another me?

For what purpose?

Would it be the same as my purpose in life? If not, is that still me?

Now ask yourself, who are you?

Is not knowing part of being you?

Is it pointless to ask yourself these questions?

If so why? If not what does it bring?

Are we what society tells us we are?

Is what we are not enough?

Why do we sometimes act differently than who we are?

Is trying to be someone else a part of what we are?

Are we what we believe and what others believe we are?

Are we really in control? And if so, to what extent?

Just curious, that’s all.

Retrocausality, flower before seed

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This is for what was and for what could be. For what could have been and what it could have become. For what I miss and for what may come. But more importantly this is for now, as this instant is the anchor for both past and present. Now is all we have.

So, it is now my pleasure to invite you in another journey of thoughts. An exploration of time, with a different dynamic than what we are used to. A different natural order of events, or better said an alternative perception of time. A journey so strange which may potentially stretch, bend or break our current paradigm of thinking. After all, the consciousness stretched by a new idea may never return to it’s previous dimension.

We have been conditioned to perceive time as a linear process. A one way street on which we all pass through in our life journey, leaving behind an irreversible collection of events. We are thought that no one and no thing can escape time and that everything is bound to it’s temporal orientation (past > present > future). As might be expected, one can think of some things which may prove to be an exception to this rule. The gravitational pull of black hole is so powerful that not even light can escape it. It is said that time slows down as one approaches a black hole, ultimately reaching a stop at the event horizon. But slowing down time and potentially stopping it, does not really change the orientation of it’s linear continuum. A more interesting concept is that of the hypothetical particle called Tachyon. Such a particle may travel faster than the speed of light, thus making time travel (backwards or forwards) possible. If Tachyons really exist one could possibly build  a tachyonic antitelephone which is a hypothetical device which could be used to send signals into one’s past.

Of course, these are just theories which are backed up by consensus knowledge of theoretical physics. These theories and concepts are not consistent with the known laws of physics and may cause paradoxes in our understanding of causality. But just because we are not (yet) able to comprehend such ideas doesn’t necessarily imply impossibility. After all, most of the things which we perceive as absolute sources of truth are substantially based on conventions. Consensual agreements based on mind made theories which are based on our perception of logic. Our collective belief systems shape the way we perceive reality and our sense of true or false, of right and wrong. But does that make it real? Not so long ago most of us believed that the Earth was flat. As our collective mental faculties evolved over time we came to realise a deeper truth. Is this set in stone? Of course not, it’s not implicit that our mind processes will continue to evolve. There are a lot of debasers out there (check this out). Who knows what might become of this absolute truth or others of similar regard.

One may argue that reality is something that never changes after you stop believing in it. But is that true? Or does that even mater in the context of our experience? If we believe in something strong enough, what is becomes worthless. Many theories in science but also in religious or spiritual texts promote the idea that we shape reality with out thoughts. It’s a very empowering idea, one of my personal favourites which I incorporated high up in my own web of belief systems. But with great power, comes great responsibility.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.

Gauthama Buddha

So, can you have a flower before the seed? Can you do something now and affect the past, or do something in the future that would alter the present?

In theoretical physics there’s a concept called retrocausality which is basically a hypothetical phenomena or process that allows and effect to occur before it’s cause (retro-causation). This term is regarded as a philosophical idea but it is based on elements of physics. Paradoxes in time travel theories address a similar topic which is also mentioned in retrocausality discussions. A good example is the grandfather paradox which is the most popular paradox of time travel theories.

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There are also more wacky theories linked to it, like the Mandela effect (see Collective false memories topic) which (in some theories) uses retrocausality to explain why the Mandela effect is happening. The Mandela effect refers to collective false memory, in which a large number of people share false memories of past events. There are a lot of people thinking that there’s a big conspiracy going on and that our current timeline is being tempered with. The most viral and funniest of examples refers to the popular Star Wars quote:

Oh, snap! You thought Vader is going to say “Luke, I am your father”, didn’t you? It turns out we got it all wrong haha. There’s even an official website where you can find many other Mandela effects.

But leaving monkey business aside, I still think that retrocausality is an interesting thought experiment. Even if it proves to have no scientific base whatsoever, it is still a valuable philosophical exercise because it has to do, most importantly, with how we perceive time. Time is nothing more than a conventional metering of natural or mechanical processes. One day is the process in which our planet completes one rotation around it’s axis. One year is the process in which our planet completes its orbit around the sun. Because we live to see a limited number of sunrises and an even shorter number of seasons in our lifetimes, we attributed a deep meaning to time.

More importantly, time is the most indispensable convention by witch our society functions. Having this universal convention has helped our evolution since the earliest of times. From the earliest stages of sedentary societies, which used time measurements for agriculture purposes to the complex technology we have today.

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The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory – Salvador Dali, 1954

Culturally, time has a similar notoriety associated to it, being everlastingly present in our art, lifestyle and technology. From Dali’s melting clocks, to the very materialistic saying “time is money” our minds are bound to it.

Having all this backlog of mental conditioning, it is very difficult to snap out of this paradigm of thinking and try to reconsider or reformulate it in a non-confusing way. Everything that we experience and everything there is, just happens. There’s no master clock watching over everything. In the grander scheme of things, there’s just one manifestation of something, which I believe has no particular end or beginning. We know too little about existence in general and those who claim to know more may actually know less.

If you would ask me if it’s possible for a flower to blossom even before planting it’s seed, I would say yes. Even more so if we (all decide to) believe it to be true. Life is what we make of it. I prefer to be a romantic myself and indulge in this type of ideas and enrich my imagination with endless possibilities (even if just in my mind), instead of limiting it with theories of right and wrong. Doest that make me loony? Maybe.

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P.S.: Because it like to dip my mind in all sorts of places, some time ago I came across this documentary: Athene’s Theory Of Everything. It’s on the subject of conscious experience and perception. Although it’s not peer reviewed and not scientifically nor philosophically rigorous, many of it’s conclusions are supported by links to articles and papers in the field of neuroscience. Also, please note that this documentary is made by an online celebrity, most commonly known for being a professional gamer and poker player. It’s still and interesting documentary nevertheless, but just treat it as one’s personal opinion or rant.

Mentoring: Becoming wealthy, not rich

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This is not about money. If you came here looking for inspiration on how to get more money in your life, you’re in the wrong place. I really don’t know. But that’s not important.

I have no influence over your decision to continue reading, but I have one for you question before you go:

Assuming you finally become rich, what are you going to do with all that money?

Keep the answer to yourself. Try to remember it or write it down somewhere, it will become useful later in your life.

Money is not wealth. Money is not a manifestation of wealth exactly as a map is not a manifestation of territory. The menu is the not the meal. Money is not wealth.

A lot of business men spend their lifetime becoming rich and when they finally have the money, they don’t know what to do with it. It’s a vicious circle, once you confuse money with wealth you start thinking that status is happiness and so on and so forth. As many dogmas and religions have preached along the millennia, your kingdom lies within. There you will find all the riches you need. Your want is an illusion of your need, dressed in a very sexy disguise.

Being wealthy is, in principle, a state of being, not a material manifestation. Wealth can have many material manifestations in the form of material goods, but it’s only a fraction of it’s true value. Wealth is the quantum of your experience. If you live a life seeking to learn and explore, instead of continuous gain and spend, you will be wealthier than the richest man in the world.

Durring our history as a species we have shown a great hunger for learning and exploring, a hunger that has lifted us to our peek of evolution that we know today. By passing on each other’s experiences we learn to grow, faster, better. We don’t reinvent the wheel and we don’t make the same mistakes. We walk on the shoulders of giants, the ones who were before. Their past experiences give us a head start, and it potentially saves us from a lot of stupid mistakes and suffering. It’s a glimpse of maturity without having to get old. How cool is that?

Mentoring takes learning from experience to the next level. First of all, mentoring or being mentored requires a reasonable dose of maturity. A point in your life when you start asking the right questions. A time when you see things from a different perspective than how you’ve seen them before in your life. It’s a different kind of learning, it’s not like in school. You are not stuck with just some default teacher or some kid who’s counting the seconds till recess. You get to choose. Both the mentor and mentee get to choose.

How you relate to learning and the relationship you have with your mentor is different. It’s a relationship based on respect and deep appreciation, a relationship which requires a certain level of humbleness. One seeks a mentor to tap into a deeper perspective, one that he desires but lacks experience.

There are no rules, only the ones you set between each other. There is no mandatory duration, it stops when both feel they got what they wanted. I say both, because it’s a relationship which benefits both the mentor as the mentee.

You can have one or more mentors. They could be people from your work, a friend, a teacher or just some person you admire. If you are seeking a mentor, my advice is to be humble and dare to ask, you will be surprised.

Learning or helping someone learn is, I think, one of our deepest purposes in life and one of our core values. It’s the never ending spiral of life, as long as we keep it going it will unfold like the petals of a flower. Our flower of life.

From endangered species to interplanetary species… and beyond

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Humanity has reached yet another important phase in its evolution. You’ve probably heard that a lot lately, it’s almost a cliché to hear it again. Well, get used to it as you will hear it more an more. In this ever-accelerating world we live in, progress and regress take less time than they did before. Although we get “there” faster, it feels that we are already a bit late. We have the potential to reach for the stars and start a colony on Mars, but at the same time we are close to becoming an endangered species.

Huh… ?! An endangered species (one might ask)? But… why?! And how did we get here?

A simplified answer for the why, is the continuous decay of our habitat. Humanity’s reckless route to progress has had some serious side effects on our planet. We have recently passed the carbon tipping point. Permanently.

According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, it “seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year—or ever again for the indefinite future.” Their findings are based on the weekly observations of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, who have been monitoring the CO2 levels on a weekly basis, since 1958.

Scientists have been warning us years before that if atmospheric carbon surpasses 400 parts per million, it would be an irreversible situation for an indefinite period of time. The first region to surpass these values was the Arctic, back in 2013. Fast forward to present, and now these values has been surpassed on a global scale.

1475015483983587Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Nature Conservancy warns that one fourth of Earth’s species could become extinct by 2050. This in turn will cause a massive food chain disruption. Other side effects include rising sea levels and ocean acidification, to name only a few. So, yes! We, humans, are soon to become an endangered species.

While our habitat decays in such a manner, a mission to Mars becomes more poetic. It will not be centered anymore around one man’s ambition, an entire species will reach out for the stars…

The calling of the open road becomes the calling of the open void

Since writing could record, humans have been drawn to far out places. The open road whispers a romantic calling, a calling coded in the root code of our DNA. A base code meticulously written by natural selection, as an essential mechanism of human survival.

After thousands of years of sedentary establishment we are again left in the want for more. Even after all the material gains which came with settling in, there is still a place in our souls that longs for continuous exploration. From tribes to villages, to cities, to empires, to lost civilizations. Nothing lasts forever. Exploring and spreading is the only way we can ensure species continuity in the vastness of space-time.

A mission to another planed may be an interesting topic for a sci-fi movie, however there are visionaries like Elon Musk who dare to materialize such a vision. He puts his money where his mouth is with SpaceX, investing almost all his capital in this ambitious project.

For those of you who don’t know, SpaceX is a privately owned space company which has as main business activity the delivery of cargo to the International Space Station. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. Their concept of reusable rockets keeps cost low and the business going, having NASA as their client.

However, SpaceX has bigger plans. Its stated goal is to establish a colony on Mars with a population of at least 80,000 people. The aim is to lower the cost of a trip to $200,000, in order to make this affordable and sustainable. Right now the estimated cost range from $6 billion to $500 billion for crewed programs and the cost for a person is estimated at $10 billion. Before that happens, SpaceX would have to overcome multiple important milestones. The forward thinking approach and the ambitious leadership of Elon Musk might be just the right combination to make this real.

At this point in time, this might seem unrealistic. What might seem even more surreal is the timeline proposed to make this happen. If you are reading this in 2016, the journey is expected to happen in 8 years time.

If all goes as planned, in 2024 we might witness a presentation as significant as J.F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech. Back in 1962 the idea of two people walking on the moons in less than 7 years time seemed just as unthinkable as the idea of a Mars colony is today. To give us an idea of what a trip to Mars would look like, SpaceX has created this interesting animation of their vision of the Interplanetary Transport System:

Although there are many limitations and obstacles, the history of human progress teaches us that man, in his quest for knowledge, progress and expansion, is determined and cannot be discouraged. The exploration and colonization of space will happen, whether we choose to believe in it or not.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

J.F. Kennedy Moon Speech – Rice Stadium, 12 September 1962

 

Save the planet?

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For some time now I think about “saving the planet”. It seems like a very clear mission we have here, to save the plant. But, you know, I think know the planet will be just fine without us. The planet doesn’t need to be saved. We need to save ourselves from us. We need to save the planet from us and for us.

OK, maybe Earth needs our guidance to thrive, but that should be the best guidance, in order to really benefit the planet. Just take a look at what we’ve done since we appeared here until the present moment: we’ve changed the way the weather works, which leaded to global warming and loss of biosphere integrity; we’ve polluted the places we’re living in to the point that they are no longer livable; we’ve transformed once green, fertile areas into desert; we’ve let metal encroachments creep into the soil. And this list could go on and be more detailed, but there’s no need for it.

Researchers all over the Earth spent time trying to find out what we did to this planet and how we could save it. They’ve discovered that changes of the last 60 years are unprecedented in the previous 10.000 years. 10.000 years of relatively stable climate and a significant accession of human civilization.

This was possible because the urban population has increased sevenfold since the ‘50s and the need of energy and food increased exponentially. This thing leaded to a growth of primary energy use by a factor of five, an amount of fertilizer of up to eight times higher and a quadrupled amount of nitrogen entering the oceans.

We couldn’t see the impact we had on Earth until recently, but the researchers saw it and warned us that all of these changes are shifting the planet into a “new state” that is becoming less hospitable to human life. Thing that brings me back to my thoughts – the planet doesn’t need us. I think we should re-think the way we live and the way we are doing things here, on Earth, because who knows if there is any chance for us to find another planet suitable for human life?

Have you ever thought what would happen if all the humans would disappear from Earth? Of course, the first years could be terrifying, but after 10.000 years, the only proof that humans were on Earth would be the Chinese wall, the Rushmore Mountain or other rock structures.

I’ll let you with this short video clip that explain better the idea of human extinction and Earth revival and with the hope that a shift, no matter how small, will happen in your life.

 

One app to rule them all

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– A story about the future of apps and the future of user privacy –

Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, eBay are just some of the apps we use on a daily basis. These apps assist us on our daily routine of our modern lives. They can provide information, social interaction, and cater to our needs and wants. They know us, almost as well as we know them.

 Because nothing is really free on the world wide web, these apps also need their fair share of our daily exchange. We use these apps for our own purpose and the apps begin to “know us”. More precisely, know more about us. In general the end game is to sell us something. The more it knows about us, about our behavior, desires and needs the easier it is to make us buy something.

Of course, nobody is really making you buy a certain product, if you don’t want it or need it. However, some cases are questionable, or even abusive. A friend was telling me about a TV show which was addressing this topic exactly. She was telling me about how companies make a business out of collecting and selling personal user information. And gave me creepy example of a case where a home security company was using personal user information to target their ads to users who were rape victims. We come to a point where we ask ourselves if our decisions are conscious or if they are the product of our cyber exploitation.

China, is apparently in lead when it comes to “knowing their users”. Due to thesheltered internet dictated by their country’s government they have created their own version of the internet. All the apps that we know and love, have been replicated in China’s internet. At their early stages these apps were regarded as rip-offs, however with the launch of WeChat (or Weixin in Mandarin Chinese) things are taking an interesting turn.

WeChat is a new breed of app that can do what WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Uber, Amazon, Tinder can do, and more. Users can make appointments to hospitals, order & pay for food, invest money, order a cab and my personal favorite, heat maps that show you how crowded a place is. The list can go on. Imagine doing all of the things you normally do on the internet in just one app. Now imagine the amount of data and metadata WeChat is collecting.

In a country where everyone shares everything this is very appealing for the government as well…

Johan Kessel and Paul Mazur of The New York Times talk about this issue in this cool video:

What is interesting to see, is that companies from the US are liking the idea of one app to rule them all. Companies like Facebook, are now starting to copy this concept. It seems like WeChat is a glimpse of the future.

The intention of this article is not to emphasize only on the the negative aspects of what this can bring. I acknowledge the many benefits of having such an app, and it’s needless to say how it can simply our lives. However I think that knowing the bad side of the story, not just what they sell us is important to making a conscious decision. A well informed decision is a conscious decision.

Teen Titans: Boyan Slat and The Ocean Cleanup

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I remember when I was 19, my main concern was to get a hot girlfriend. It seemed normal at the time, and I am sure that this is the case for most teenagers these days. However there are exceptions to each rule, and each generation has it’s fair share of prodigy children. So is the case of Boyan Slat, a 21 year old Dutch inventor, entrepreneur and aerospace engineering student who, at the age of 19, started the The Ocean Cleanup with the dream of removing all plastic waste from our oceans.

According to their research, every year we produce 300 million tons of plastic, a portion of which enters and accumulates in the oceans. A considerable portion of that gets infiltrated into the water stream and ends up in our oceans. Due to large offshore currents, plastic concentrates in vast areas called gyres, which basically result huge islands of floating micro plastics and garbage.  And I say micro plastics because, due to the harsh conditions of the oceans and sun exposures, plastics are broken into smaller and smaller pieces that are not even that visible. So if you were imagining a giant island of waste floating around, you have the wrong image in your head. The fact that the plastic is broken down in such smaller pieces makes things even worse, in terms of cleaning it and also in terms of the ecosystem. Aside from marine animals dying from it because they confuse it with food and eat it, we also poison ourselves because some of those animals end up on our plates.

Boyan also did a Ted talk about The Ocean Cleanup in 2012 when he first started:

At the time there were a lot of skepticals, thinking that this might worsen the problem and damage maritime life. So, in order to tackle the opposing opinions, The Ocean Cleanup team produced a feasibility study (that you can find here) that demonstrates this project is indeed sustainable and it works. The evolution of the project is documented and captured in The Ocean Cleanup official website where they keep a blog to keep viewers informed. There is also a career section and donations can be made, for people who want to get involved.

Based on their research, Boyan and his team estimates that the oceans can be cleaned of plastics in approximately 5 year times in optimal conditions. Only 2 years after the Ted talk, The Ocean Cleanup published this video on youtube, signaling the feasibility study. This brings a lot of hope and reassurance for the followers but also for the skepticals.

Not many would have thought that the younger generations would give us lessons in environmental problems such as these, already cleaning up our mess that we and our predecessors left behind. This is what I call a Teen Titan, and it’s initiatives like these that build a bright future.

We need more Teen Titans and the wolrd needs to hear about projects such as these. If you know of other Teen Titans that strive to make the world better, please share them with us in the comments section below.

For more information please visit The Ocean Cleanup website: http://www.theoceancleanup.com/

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Source: The Ocean Cleanup

Be a conscious consumer Part 3. Clicking Clean

Right now there are more than 3 billion people online. Billions of devices that are glowing in the faces of users hungry for information and entertainment. Devices and machines that are in turn hungry for electricity. If you think that surfing the internet takes only as much energy as to power your laptop, desktop or tablet your are in for a big surprise.

In reality, data centers make up a large percentage of the energy consumption of the Internet as a whole. In fact, if the Internet were a country, its electricity demand would currently rank sixth.

Ok, so this doesn’t consume as much energy as other industries (like the cement industry for example), however looking at the rate the Information Technology and Internet as a whole is growing, makes up a good reason to do something about it now. Experts estimate that by 2017 there will be a half a trillion kilowatt rise in energy consumption for web-based activities. Most of this is derived primarily for streaming video, which is predicted to account for 76 percent of Internet usage by 2018.

Clicking Clean for a green Internet

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Through the power of the Internet, many people around the world experienced positive changes in their lives. It is one of the most important breakthroughs in our era and it will certainly facilitate our evolution moving forward. However, if we want to make the switch to a renewable powered society fast enough to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Internet must also be a platform to transition the world toward a renewable energy future. It is a powerful medium for spreading information and thus can educate a lot of people towards sustainable and clean practices.

In addition, leading by example would be one of the most important markers for this change. Having this industry commit to clean and sustainable energy sources can, perhaps inspire morality to other industries and they will follow as well. In the end it all comes down to our collective aspirations and the choices we make, Clicking Clean – or choosing to support  companies that follow this ideology – can be our greatest tool for achieving this goal.

If having the audacity to rely on grid power now puts a company at risk for public shaming, then the day is coming when every company’s energy usage will be viewed through a moral filter – similar to how its labor practices and foreign investments are viewed today.

– David Crane, NRG CEO

See the companies that host much of the Internet in their data centers and how green they are

The good news is that a growing number of companies have begun to create a corner of the internet that is renewably powered and coal free, with over a half dozen major internet companies now committed to being 100% renewably powered. Renewable commitments by internet companies have had a big impact in driving renewable power in several key markets, as a growing number of utilities have begun to shift their investments to renewable energy to meet this new demand.

A Greenpeace report shows the big players are stacking up: [Report Here]

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Apple is leading the way with an 100% Clean Energy Index. Since 2012, all of Apple’s data centers have been powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources. That means no matter how much data they handle, there is a zero greenhouse gas impact on the environment from their energy use. These data centers use renewable energy sources like solar, wind, biogas fuel cells, micro‑hydro power, and geothermal power from onsite and locally obtained resources.

On any given day, our data centers will use renewable energy to serve tens of billions of messages, more than a billion photos, and tens of millions of FaceTime video calls. They also run services like Siri, the iTunes Store, the App Store, and Maps. So every time a song is downloaded from iTunes, an app is installed from the Mac App Store, or a book is downloaded from iBooks, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature.

They also have an environment section on their official website, which is really nice to see in a tech giant such as Apple.

Google also has the goal of powering their operations 100% on clean energy. They have committed to purchase nearly 2 gigawatts of renewable energy to date, making them the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world. Google also committed to separately invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy projects, which also makes them one of the largest corporate investors in renewable energy in the world.

We believe that by helping power more of the world with renewable energy through these two initiatives, we’re creating a better future for everyone.

Check out their Google Green webpage and find out more about their efforts in this area.

Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft are also already on their way to achieving this. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and other high-profile entrepreneurs have pledged to spark a “new economic revolution” based around clean energy after launching a new investment drive for renewables.

The Internet of Things has the potential to reduce power consumption to a minimum

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For those of you who are not familiar with the concept yet,The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

More and more smart devices or things are appearing on the shelves of stores. The most popular ones are regular household items, like smart light-bulbs or thermostats that have motion detection sensors which may only trigger when there is activity in the room. The same principles can apply to cooling appliances. For you it may come as a convenience, maybe even a cost savings. For society and the environment, it’s a precious mouthful of fresh air, decreasing costs and pollution at the same time.

Imagine this on a larger scale like industrial, for companies or even grander to an environment level. The possibilities are endless. Supply chain control, marine pollution, commercial fleet tracking – all of these sectors could be revolutionized with the introduction of simple IoT. Smart sensors could monitor and regulate power consumption, and report in the event of technical issues.

I really believe in the huge potential that technology brings. All the above are very good examples of technology helping the society and the environment, if used properly. It is up to us – the creators, makers, builders, users – to make conscious decisions moving forward, decisions like…. Clicking Clean. 🙂

P.S.: If you want to join the Greenpeace Clicking Clean campaign and make the Internet greener you can sign the petition here.