NB : this article is focused on the French society, but its remarks are still valid for other countries.

We cannot do anything. The system is corrupt. We need laws…

I am getting tired of hearing that. You want to live better in the future ? Do the following :

  • Stop using cars, start biking [1]
  • … and move to a medium city. [2]
  • If you need a car, share lifts.
  • Start a business
  • … as a cooperative
  • … with a social objective. [3]
  • Sign into a trade-union.
  • Try to rationalize your consumption. Do you really need this or that? Isn’t your bill a bit too high? Can you reduce it?
  • Sign into a non-profit or cooperative ISP (or found one like said above). [4]
  • Take control of your internet : build your own router or server @home.
  • … or open-hardware internet router Turris.
  • If you are too afraid to host your own mail, use non-for-profit mail servers.
  • Generate GPG keys to keep your mail safe and private.
  • Quit smoking. [5]
  • Donate blood.
  • Register as organ-donor.
  • Go in an animal shelter and get a rescue cat or dog. [6]
  • Build your own house [7]
  • … screw banks
  • … and crazy insulate it with 20 cm minimum of rockwool, glasswool, sheepwool or duck feathers. [8]
  • Install a heat-pump, a wind turbine and/or solar pannels.
  • Volunteer in some organisations, help your neighbor’s daughter with her homework, teach your language to foreigners… [9]
  • Repair your stuff (computers, printers, clothes, bikes, coffee makers) rather than replace it with brand new. [10]
  • Recycle when you cannot repair.
  • Use opensource or free software on your computers. [11]
  • Moderate your use of cloud systems.[12]
  • Use less Facebook & co (Same global reasons as for cloud systems). [13]
  • Buy locally.
  • Eat less meat. Ideally, become vegetarian, or almost. [14]

Each one of these actions is a vote for a more humane society, a more liberal and more social world, better for yourself and those you love, and no less powerful than any other vote or political standing.

By using a not-for-profit ISP, you vote for an internet that respects your freedom and privacy. By eating less meat, you vote for a world that is less polluted or pressured.

You can certainly not do all of that (for example if you rent your house), but you have the keys. You can choose between those actions that fits well in your life and help the world feeling better. And nothing forbids you to do it. No law can forbid you to bike to work.

And it’s something you can do now, today, tomorrow, this week-end… No need to wait for global revolution, change, Santa Claus or Bernie Sanders…

Understand also that any policy to drive down pollution or climate change will necessarily use those main points : building insulation, particularly dwellings, energy efficiency, reducing the cattle herd, reducing road traffic. Everything I just wrote up. So do it.

Explanations

  1. Road transport accounts between 10 and 20 % greenhouse gas emissions. There are way too many individual cars on the roads. [Retour]

  2. Meaning a town not too loaded, where there is life quality but still economically dynamic, where you can bike everywhere in half-an-hour. Roughly a city between 100 000 and 500 000 inhabitants. Smaller, you may lack something, like great internet connection, collective equipment, local university… Settling in a middle town, you bring your skills with you while too much businesses stay in big suburbs, etc. [Retour]

  3. Business can be social or politically engaged. I think an entrepreneur designing and building windmills is way more politically engaged than any Jill Stein around the world. When one does it in a cooperative business, it’s like combo, karma goes +++. [Retour]

  4. Taking your internet in a non-profit or cooperative ISP, you contribute to a less centralized and safer internet.’ It will also surely be more neutral. Controlling your router/server, you also control a good part of your internet connection (with a better DNS resolution, by validating DNSSEC…). Those same non-profit ISP will surely help you while you try to take back control of your internet. [Retour]

  5. Most countries have programs to help you stop smoking: US, UK. Just to remind you that smoking reduce your life quality and expectancy. [Retour]

  6. Having a pet might help you fight depression, feel loved or help you go through the day. With a kitten in the place, you are having a good laugh every second. Finding a friend in an animal shelter is doing good to him and you too. [Retour]

  7. Self-building your house allows you to reduce your banking loans and allow you to build a dwelling that fits better your own way of life, and in the long term, better possibilities for improvements. Talking around you about this project, you will often find a helping hand, or more, particularly within your friends or family circle.
    My own advice, as building engineer (and person who saw that kind of projects failing or working): make a time plan, objectives, and stick to it. Don’t change the plans of the house in the middle of the project. [Retour]

  8. Building accounts for 25 to 40 % of consumed energy and greenhouse gases emissions. Within that, half of it is consumed/emitted by heating systems. If you calculate well, you get that around 25 % of consumed energy in Western countries (with an efficiency rate of 33 %, due to Thermodynamics Law and Carnot’s Cycle) is wasted just to insure relative comfort. [Retour]

  9. Social link, local implication are also peacemakers. Helping your neighbor to do her homework, you are also helping her family.
    Maybe will you also have a look in some social troubles you could not imagine before. Maybe some will also understand better your own troubles.
    It is much probable that, at one point or another, you will receive much more for this benevolence than you would expect. How many persons met their spouse in a reading club, or while helping other with their homework ?
    I think the wave of intolerance spreading now and then in our world (homophobia, racism, discrimination against homeless or work-less), is certainly coming from a lack of listening, lack of open-mindness and lack of social-linking.
    While working more for the benefit of the society, you reduce this intolerance. [Retour]

  10. Find a Repair Café. I am now involved in the Repair Café Aarhus.
    During a conference about circular economy in March 2016 which I attend, the speaker, coming from the Netherlands, talked about the Repair Café movement, which spread from his country, and mentioned several ways to help it, like raising taxes on resources while lowering those on work. [Retour]

  1. With free software, you can be free from computing business. You can read and write your documents without worrying about patents or licences (whereas non-free softwares often have closed formats that become easily outdated and prevent you from using your own documents and work).
    With free software, you can customize your working computer so that it fits your needs.
    LUG (Linux Users Groups) often organize install parties. Have a look to some Linux distributions like Debian or Mint. [Retour]

  2. Cloud computing means using someone else’s computer, Google’s, Amazon’s or Apple’s actually. These corporations use your data to make money. They can also suppress, revoke access, leak it or anything else. And you cannot do anything about it. Because you don’t own the hardware. [Retour]

  3. Using too much social networks looks to be bad to your sanity. It highlights social competition and therefore leads to lack of self-esteem for those who are not popular or less successful. It increases feelings of void in life or emptiness.
    Social medias are also biased sources of information, lock you in your bubble and prevent you from discovering other things or opinions. Finally, social network, like cloud systems, make money out of you, without respecting your rights. [Retour]

  4. Cattle produce 10 % of greenhouse gases. Let’s just be crude: cows fart. There are 1.5 billion cattle on Earth. That makes a lot of farts.
    Those cattle hoard also a lot of resources: soil, food, medicines (cattle are way better treated than humans).
    You need 15 000 liters of water and several dozens of kg of grass to produce 1 kg of beef. I still eat meat, and I would have hard time saying no to a beef burgundy. But we could largely reduce our meat consumption to once or twice a week.
    Several studies point out that meat consumption could lead to health troubles.
    I think we will discover in 15 years when vegetarian and vegan lifestyle have spread, that they also do, because approximately everything does, including wood powder. [Retour]

Forgot something ?

I did not used the S word.

This article is the ideal place to show again my very personal hate for sport, which I consider as a form of legal torture aimed at bully schoolchildren. This is even self-imposed by adults running around in the city !

Biking 100 km per week just to go from one place to another is largely enough to maintain my health. And I practice archery , whic can be seen as the most non-sportive activity ever !