This is a great article. I resonate with many of the notions that Benjamin very eloquently and humbly describes. Being from the land of ‘Big Internet Money,’ it has been challenging to get funding for educational aquaponics, greywater and ecological landscaping; yet I ran into some tech workers who recently got $20m in seed funding for an app that makes it so grocery store workers bring groceries to the trunk of your car while you wait. They openly admit 2 things: 1) that this app is a pointless convenience, and 2) that they don’t care about this area, the drought, or any other social issue of the Bay Area because they are only here for the internet money and they will go back home eventually. I used to make a salary with full benefits working in online advertising; another pointless shell of an industry that serves only to undermine personal privacy and exploit others. Now that I have an MSc in Ecological Design and I work in permaculture and aquaponics, I am on food stamps.
If Schoolgrown, the educational non-profit aquaponics company that I work for could get $20m in seed funding, then we would be working towards solving the drought, providing local green jobs, and vocational education for students. As it is now I am being priced out of the area, can no longer afford to live where I grew up, and need to seriously consider moving.
As a friend of a friend said in the most stereotypical New Englander accent on Cape Cod during my spring break visit back East after I worked as Artist in Residence at the Omega Institute, “we like ‘Fuckery.'” If we didn’t like Fuckery, why would we fund pointless apps rather than actual solutions?