More reflection on the climate and myself

2023 was horrible. It was HOT. This made me very worried about global warming. And I've gone through the 5 phases of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Well, not acceptance but the realization that I am not a part of the problem due to my (lack of) habits. And that I have the ability to use my engineering skills to make things better - and publicise that so more fellow engineers can do the same. And have an excuse to publish my blurb on the internet.

I want to paraphrase a Redditor, his comment very accurately describes my feelings:

It's f**king exhausting and paralyzing. I don't know who to trust. Depending on who you ask, either everything will be fine and things are turning around, or we're doing too little too late and we're all going to die horribly. I feel that I should have been born earlier in the human history, when the survivor of humans is a sure thing and not just a possibility.

With that out of the way... For real. I don't consume much. I live in an urban area, don't own a car, bike everywhere, don't buy inpulse purchases, don't fall into TikTok overconsumption (nor using TikTok at all), ads have almost 0 effect on me, use my electronics until my need outgrows them, buys local produce when I can, invests spare money in green energy (TAN to the moon!), uses low-power appliances when possible. At first I was doubt myself not helping to mitigate the climate crisis enough - it's epically hard for me as there's not much I can cut down on. And the realization that even if I do cut everything and live in a cave, the impact I produce will not be enough to mitigate even one average American's impact. Depression ensues. But then I realized that I am not the problem. I should not be chasing for more change, I should still avoid waste and consumption when possible, but that's not where I can make the most impact. Instead, I should be helping using my skills to either help others to change or push for more change.

I have a portfolio of open source projects. The major ones I did includes TLGS - one of the major Gemini search engines, drogon - a fast C++ web framework, a few RK3588 related projects on accelerating and reducing power consumption AI, my recent work in progress RK3588 port of GGML. The list goes on and on. The point being, I have proven record of being a generalist. And these projects nets me oppertunities to share projects and know hows publicly. More importantly, it gives me the chance to network with non-engineers. Managers and consultants that have the position, power and will to make changes in corporations, just don't have the technical experience to do so. Often then not I'm more then happy to spend time to help them understand the technical side of things. And which technology is the best 20/80 solution for their problem.

That's how I got pass the depression phase. I'm not the problem and I can enable changes that is much larger then going to absolute zero myself. I am not sure in what form. I've been approached by different people with different ideas. From accelerating ESG (given all it's criticism, it's the most scalable) adoption to providing technical tools to reduce energy consumption. Exciting times ahead.

I think it tied back nicely to my new year's resolution. My time is much more valuable then my money. Hence to make the most impact, I should be actually helping, instead of donating to charities.

I have to admit I have one bad habit - I drink hard liquor. But at this point it's more of a productivity boost and the tradeoff is worth it. For now at least.

Rant on the current state of things

That being said, I do want to comment on top things that I think is not helping. American hyperconsumerism, stupid degrowth proponents and the fighting between environmentalists, engineers and climate activists.

American hyperconsumerism, duh. This is the thing I am the exact opposite of. No, I don't need <INSERT LATEST GADGET HERE> off Amazon and it's NOT A MUST HAVE. Latest trends rarely is nice to have but really a luxery. It's not that hard to live frugally. Like, f**k, I actually have the money to hyperconsume and have savings to spare. But I don't. The high of buying something new feels bad when you realized you spent 6 hours of work money on it. And you'll just throw it in your ever cramming closet. Just. No.

Degrowth proponents. Please rename your movement, pretty please. I know you mean well. Your movement is against the cancerous "growth at all cost" that capitalism is built on. Instead, growth should be made to fill the actual needs of people. But the name is just bad. To people who don't know what you mean, it sounds like you want to go back to the mid-eval times. You won't get any support from the general public. I won't stop you from pushing degrowth, but please, make some necessary changes.

Finally, deer environmentalists, engineers and climate activists. Let's all sit down and talk. I am an engineer. I want to solve the climate. But please don't stop us from implementing solutions. Epically when you don't have a better solution and we have shared publically about what we are doing for months. We all hate coal and gas. Let's work together to make the world a better place. if you have ecological concerns. Let the engineers know. There might me a solution if the issue is brought up early. Changing plans mid way is expensive and time consuming. And time is something we don't have. And engineers, please don't assert other people are dumb because they don't understand how it is impossible to send 1MW of power through a thin cable. They don't know but their intentions are good. Treat their concerns as a child asking why. Finally, I would like the climate activists to talk with the environmentalists. Sometimes we have to make a tradeoff. Either a solar farm or a grass land. Please decide which is more important and don't only protest when the decision is made. We are all on the same side. Let's not fight each other.

sigh. Some KOL please fix this. It's out of my scope.

Author's profile. Photo taken in VRChat by my friend Tast+
Martin Chang
Systems software, HPC, GPGPU and AI. I mostly write stupid C++ code. Sometimes does AI research. Chronic VRChat addict

I run TLGS, a major search engine on Gemini. Used by Buran by default.

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