Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Can you technology and modern living with environmental consciousness?

I keep thinking about our goals on this trip:
Researching sustainable living in communities with the intentions of merging different ways of life with modern lifestyles in order to decrease our negative affects on our environment and our society.

At lease this is a goal of mine, but I am struck by something strange as we continue this journey. I am not sure exactly what it is but I will try to describe it. I guess the questions that are raised are: Can you combine environmental consciousness with technology? Is the only solution (for creating a healthy environment for children, families and individuals) to isolate them from TV, internet, and the out side world as a whole?
I bring up these questions because the last two places that we have stayed at have given us this impression in some form or another. Mainly at Marcus' place. His kids go to a small school that encourages the families not to own a television. They are encouraged to entertain themselves by other means that are therefore more beneficial to their development. That sounds like a brilliant idea, but is it really. These children are completely sheltered from the outside world. They have no children in their neighbourhood because they don’t have a neighbourhood. They don't get some social ques because their exposor is limited. The strange part is that their parents pride themselves on this disconnect from technology or 'staying off the national grid', however they have a TV in their bedroom facing their bed. When we ask about internet access Marcus vaguely describe access in some far away place that we might be able to get too or we could go to the city and pay for it. It turns out that he has it in his office that exits in a shed about 20 feet away. So he made it seem impossible and gave us disapproving looks. But if you think about it his business excels because of internet access and Maree's work depends on it. They are hiding it from their children and from us because they think it is better with out it. Marcus also creates sculpture about it base on his lack of knowledge of technology. I find it really confusing and still hold onto the idea that we can find a balance with technology and out environment. We don't have to choose one or the other.