[iDC] activism now and when?

Richard Lowenberg rl at dcn.org
Fri Dec 9 14:23:48 EST 2005

"Slow Tech" has just been drafted for publication in the next issue of  
the Community Media Review.

Slow Tech

Proposition for a Slow Tech Movement
Advocating a more ecological understanding and practice of Information  
Society development.

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it any more.”

Call me a heretic.   Maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety.   Maybe  
I can’t keep up.    Maybe.
But I know that in today’s dangerously fragile world, technological  
progress is rapidly outpacing and out of sync with social progress and  
development.   This is an unsustainable state of affairs.

The networked Information Society is an inexorable part of the larger  
processes and impacts of ever more rapid technological developments  
(military, aerospace, energy, biotech, transportation, medical,  
manufacturing, communications), now affecting every aspect of  
everyone’s lives, everywhere.  Technological development may be an  
evolutionary imperative, the ultimate path and outcomes of which are  
yet unknown.   It seems evident, however, that in terms of the future  
quality of life on Earth, regardless of one’s worldview or beliefs, we  
are at a serious crisis point.   To continue to develop as we are  
doing, denies and undermines all that we as humankind extol about our  
miraculous intelligence, and puts to serious question our networked  
social aspirations.

Information technologies and services are currently a key driving force  
within the development of global capitalism and consumerism.   While  
being applied to real-world problems, technology has been unable to  
lessen population, poverty, hunger, disease, dislocation, injustice,  
corruption, or conflict.   And, information warfare has become  
insidious; now being waged continuously, it respects neither borders,  
nor privacy, nor truth, nor our humanity.

Disparities are increasing.   The ‘digital divide’, while changing, is  
continuing to widen, despite well intentioned technical and social  
fixes.   It is not a technical matter.  It is not an easy matter.   It  
will take time.

At best, most of us are just trying to keep up.   Innovation and change  
are proceeding so rapidly and continuously, that there is no time to  
stop and to learn from our mistakes anymore.  And, learning must be at  
the purposeful heart of Information Societies’ desire to be  

Of coarse, we can’t just stop along our dynamic co-evolutionary path.    
But taking a lesson from the Slow Food movement, it might be time for  
us to reconsider our motivations and chart a more intelligent course;  
to begin to balance the books and make an investment in the Earth for  
coming generations.  For the sake of wisdom, we might deliberately  
consider learning how to slow down.

Incorporating the best of Information Society development  
understandings and practices, this might be the time for globally  
networked “communities of learning” to dedicatedly collaborate on more  
environmentally, economically, politically and culturally sustaining  

Slow Tech is rooted in the following common sense propositions:
	Eco-manufacturing makes sense
	Consuming less makes sense
	Recycling and reuse makes sense
	Open access and standards makes sense
	Local people and places makes sense
	Less noise-to-signal makes sense
	Sometimes doing less makes sense
	Slowing down simply makes sense.

Richard Lowenberg has been a slow practitioner in realms of networked  
social media, the arts  and eco-cultural activism for over 35 years.    
He is director of the Davis Community Network.
rl at dcn.org

Richard Lowenberg
Exec. Director, Davis Community Network (DCN), 1623 5th St., Davis, CA  
Ph. 530-750-1170 / Fax 530-757-2938         rl at dcn.org             
Home/Studio:  530-668-1100          rl at radlab.com                
"If it is not Matter, it is Energy. If it Matters, it is Information.  
If it does not Matter, it is Noise."
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