What Do Sex and Gender have to do with Net Neutrality and Climate Change?

Garry Knight Climate March in London September 21, 2014 Flickr/creative commons

Garry Knight
Climate March in London
September 21, 2014
Flickr/creative commons

I have often been asked why VenusPlusX, and its mission to help bring about to the coming New Age of Sexual Freedom, has been so concerned in the last couple of years with the two issues of Climate Change and Net Neutrality. Some of my friends asked me to explain what these issues have to do sex, after all.

Dan and I set out to help change the world. Maybe you did or will, also. Each of us can envision a better future world, free from racism, poverty, and militarism and the constant interference by the overreach of governments and religious hierarchies and the greedy exploitation by corporate elitists. We chose the New Age of Sexual Freedom to connote that lofty goal, the day when respect for personal autonomy and bodily integrity will at last realized. That future we are co-envisioning is real: what is old and useless will be gone; what was old but useful will persist because it has value; and, new and humane ways of doing things emerge to replace all of the inhumane and coercive systems that enslave all of us but a few.

The work of rescuing civilization from those who would corrupt it proceeds by setting priorities. A long time ago, I appealed to my fellow social and economic justice activists to reserve at lease some of their time to advocate for a strong worldwide response to climate change. But will that be enough?

Climate change deniers like to call themselves climate change skeptics to make you think they are capable of absorbing new information when they have made themselves mentally unable to do that. These annoying deniers are trying to get in the way of taking immediate and historic action. The number of deniers in power to interfere may be high or low but that doesn’t change the fact that the effects of climate change are already upon us, and the urgency is increasing expodentially.

The ravages of climate change and our ability through a free and open Internet to respond to this crisis, are inexorably linked. Climate change is not just threatening our very existence, the very ground on which you now stand, it is rising quickly with some dramatic outcomes (mass migrations, violent weather, rising sea levels and salinization destroying water sources, etc.). When will these outcomes get the attention of those  going through each day blissfully unaware of this world emergency? When will these outcomes directly affect you and your family? Or have they already?

Improvement in all other areas of social and economic justice will depend on our success in responding to climate change, starting with fostering new ways of getting energy without using fossil fuels. In short, we need the Internet to accomplish everything.

You can see more about Net Neutrality and Climate Change, here and here. Also, here is a good summary of the issues, just out today.

BREAKING: According to tonight’s Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission that protects and regulates utilities like the Internet seem poised to do the right thing. We may be able to celebrate a huge victory after fighting so hard for Net Neutrality.

The Federal Communications Commission is about to fundamentally change the way it oversees high-speed Internet service, proposing to regulate it as a public utility.

Chairman Tom Wheeler is reaching for a significant expansion of the agency’s authority to regulate broadband providers, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

The move would fully embrace the principle known as net neutrality, and if enacted, would bring a new definition to the economics of the Internet industry: Rather than regulating broadband firms lightly, as has been its practice so far, the FCC would treat them like telecommunications companies and subject them to more intrusive regulation, especially in areas relating to how they manage traffic on their networks.

A central element would be a ban on broadband providers blocking, slowing down or speeding up specific websites in exchange for payment, these people say. Supporters of the FCC’s position say allowing some websites to pay for faster access to consumers would put startups and smaller companies at a disadvantage.

The proposal, expected to be unveiled by the FCC on Thursday, is a victory for a host of Silicon Valley firms and liberal activists who have championed it. Many of these companies lobbied the White House seeking such an outcome, and were rewarded in November when President Barack Obama announced his support for “the strongest possible” rules for net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

If we have the Internet and the ability to communicate rapidly across all sectors in the world, we will have a fighting chance in meeting the tremendous security challenges presented by climate change, and change the world in the process.

 

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Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner