🥗Expanding vegan ethics into software, hardware and services

4 minutes

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

I’ve been vegan for around a year now, I knew I didn’t practice what I preached and one saturday I woke up and said I’m vegan, that was it, though me being vegan shouldn’t make my argument more or less valid.

Now I believe the definition of veganism is why so many vegans are involved in other social justices issues, because humans are animals too so we should seek to exclude as far as is possible and practical all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to humans right? but the contradiction becomes clear when you consider basic things, like smartphone aren’t vegan so when buying a phone a vegan should consider lifespan and how easy the phone is to repair but most vegans opt for iphones which are know to purposely reduce the lifespan of their devices1 2 and are actively fighting the right to repair3 obviously a smartphone is a near requirement in modern society and veganism will always contain individual compromise however a simple switch from apple to android would offer longer lifespans and better repairability, with the gold standard being the fairphone which offers a cruelty free phone, one that doesn't exploit children via malicious business practices so why do you seem to see so many vegans supporting companies that harm humans? are they hypocrites? probably not, I think the same as meat eaters claiming to love animals they can be split into one of the following categories

  • People who aren't aware how much harm these companies cause and how they as an individual can decrease that harm
    • learning to repair your own device or paying to have it repaired instead of replaced
    • buying cruelty free phones
    • not replacing a phone just because it's a bit slow or a new ones out with a slightly better camera
  • People who've never actually considered the consequences of their actions
  • Hypocrites

I think hypocrites make up the smallest set of all three, I struggle to imagine someone who'd respond to "why buy an iphone that has a very evil history of exploiting children when you could instead buy a phone that doesn't, sure it's not as good but no children died to make it" with anything but serious consideration; the headaches would be minimal since fairphones function the same as any android device, I can't think of any advantage that is worth the suffering, both fortunately and unfortunately I say this hypocrisy after buying a new phone for myself, the pixel 3a which is running grapheneOS with no google apps or services, I worry that when this phone bites the dust I won't be able to justify anything but a fairphone, which isn't as secure as my current setup, but replacement parts are easy to come by and I'm pretty comfortable with phone repair, also earlier I drew a distinction between repairing it yourself and having a store repair it for you, a store repair is most likely using subpar parts ordered in bulk, if you buy the parts yourself you have a higher quality of mind that the part will last, ifixit sell replacement parts for a lot of devices and offer step by step guides, one tip I would have is buying parts before they break and ensuring you've got the needed tools for repairs, the main parts would be the screen and the battery since they're the most common issues, if your screen breaks and the phone becomes unusable you're a lot less likely to wait weeks for a part to be shipped then fit it yourself and much more likely to go to a repair shop, but if you've already got the part and already paid for it you could even just take the parts to the store, I would recommend watching them fit the part though to ensure they don't swap out your part with a cheaper aftermarket one which is a risk.

I think as a vegan the greatest thing you can do is focus on education but I also think you have a responsibility to confront people when they act hypocritical, even if it means losing friends - now to clear this up someone can act hypocritically without being a hypocrite, you only become a hypocrite if you continue to do the same act once you've become consciously aware of the hypocrisy. I think the conversations about expansion of veganism needs to happen, so many people already seem to think vegan is just a diet, a way to eat but vegans will explain to you it expands to all facets of life, so why not tech?


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