In 15 years I owned 3 different MacBooks. I still remember every and each of them.
The first one, a MacBook Pro, heavy loaded with a CD-ROM drive lost its life after 4 years to a tea accident. Funny enough, it didn’t really lose its life although there were a lot of sparks and smoke. It still somehow ‚worked’, it was mostly the screen that stopped functioning but with an external monitor you could still make it run. I used it for years as my backup computer. Just recently I gave it to recycling.
The second one, a second generation MacBook Air was with me for 4 years. No CD-ROM drive, lighter, nicer. But it lacked the capacity for heavier tasks like video editing. So, I passed it on to my girlfriend at the time — who was also involved in the tea incident. She used it well for a couple of more years after. I realize that I have no idea what eventually happened to it and make a note to ask her next time I see her.
The third one, another MacBook Pro, Mid-2014 I got in the beginning of 2015 is the one that I am writing these lines on right now. Almost 6 years we have worked and laughed together. The battery is still impressive. Yet, for all the recent projects — especially Adobe products — it just couldn’t handle it anymore. Online facilitating in different tools and a MS Teams or Zoom call at the same time was almost too much. I remember that my first MacBook pro still had the ability to be opened. I miss the easy access and upgradeability of technical gadgets.
“It is so hard to make the decision to buy a new model,“ I told my friend Stefan. “Because for any other standard tasks it works just so well.“ He nodded, knowing the struggle. He has been through it just a couple of months ago. “Well, they will just run forever. They will not takeover the decision for you.“
I look to my right while I write these lines. Next to me sits a brown cardboard box with my new refurbished 2020 MacBook Pro in it which the UPS guy just brought.
The pink sticky note on my current MacBook says “Best Day Ever!“
I guess so.
Yet, I still feel a bit ashamed and guilty.
I tell my girlfriend I just wrote these lines about my computers. She looks at me. “I can’t even remember my last computer.“
I wrote these lines in the foreboding of the next iPhone release. Through my part-time work in a Circular Economy non-profit organization I question the tag “sufficiency“ a lot.
In a world where we as humans want to have a spot and still live a comfortable life we have to make changes, changes which go way further than efficiency. Efficiency doesn’t change the linear model of our current economy.
Efficiency is to “produce the same with less emissions and resources“.
Consistency — like in a circular economy mindset — tries to take nature as a mentor and creates sustainable, closed loops systems. Which leads us eventually to a balanced civilization where we will have reversed climate change, loss of biodiversity, loss of soils. I guess. I hope.
Sufficiency is the closest to home change for us as individuals. It means we have to change our lifestyles. Less is more. Without going back to the old times, yet, still it won’t be as before.
If we can work with all the three aspects together as humans, employees, companies, municipalities, societies — we have a real chance for a future on this planet.
So, I keep wondering if I really need a new MacBook, a new iPhone, a new shirt, a new pot for the kitchen.
My thought process often takes so long that my girlfriend just buys the new pot — which we actually needed.
And I try to give my brain a bit of time to relax.