The Ecological Kindness of Hackers:

Our computers give us access to dreamspace, to impossible worlds of the mind, but these machines are still made out of real things, that need to be first pulled out of the earth.

It is hard to reconcile the lovely possibilities of computers and the monstrous actualities that go into making them. We destroy sacred sites and lives in the Congo because of the minerals located there, and support morbid work conditions within the factories that assemble our devices. By owning a piece of technology, you are in some way complicit in these tragedies.

There is no good answer to this, but there are steps we we can take to help with the healing of this scar, that start with being more technical.

We can be aware of the atrocities committed in service of our computers, to hold the weight of the lives lost in its making. But we can also be aware that this computer exists, is beneath your hands now; the atrocities behind this computer have already happened. And so it is your responsibility to treat this computer respectfully. Learn how to repair and maintain your machine so you can use it for as long as possible. Avoid new, flashy software that requires an upgrade, by learning whether there's an older, lighter, even homemade tool you can use instead. Learn enough of how computers work that you can scavenge parts from others tossed off machines, and reclaim these castaways as honored and cared-for friends.

The more technical skills we know, the less new computers we need, the more fully we move away from a tech consumerism that justifies such horror. Our non-dev friends likely understand this, but are unsure which skills they need or how to get them.