Hello small internet

Hello dear reader!

I’ve been drawn here (the “small internet”¹; Gemini space/Gopherspace/etc.) by my burgeoning interest in degrowth.

Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance, by Jason Hickel, is a great introduction to the concept.

In this paper, Hickel writes:

The objective of degrowth is to scale down the material and energy throughput of the global economy, focusing on high-income nations with high levels of per capita consumption. The idea is to achieve this objective by reducing waste and shrinking sectors of economic activity that are ecologically destructive and offer little if any social benefit (such as marketing, and the production of commodities like McMansions, SUVs, beef, single-use plastics, fossil fuels, etc.).

Proponents of degrowth want to shrink the economy to prevent ecological collapse, but aren’t (necessarily) ascetics. Personally, I’d be happy to exchange the “luxuries” of a large TV and inexpensive, disposable clothing for more leisure time and never having to sit in traffic again.

I was recently discussing these concepts with a friend who works in tech (like me), and I framed degrowth in terms of the internet. Sure, our processors are faster and bandwidth higher than they used to be, but the web doesn’t *feel* any faster because virtually all of these improvements have been dedicated to serving and rendering ads and unnecessary UI elements. We could deliver a better internet experience, using fewer resources, if we only served people what they actually wanted. Days after this conversation I learned about Gemini — an entire internet of people who’ve realized the same thing!

I’ve been lurking around for a little while, but as Solderpunk writes², “the real shortage right now is not of software but of content.” So here I am, attempting to contribute in a small way to this exciting project.

¹ Introduction to Gemini and the Small Internet.
² The Gemini FAQ.