Understanding limits from a social ecological perspective
The latest developments in the field of HCI have given rise to an increasing interest in issues pertaining to global warming, resource depletion and environmental degradation. Concern about such issues has contributed to give shape to the design space of sustainable HCI (SHCI); a space whose boundaries are at times blurred. On the one hand, some, design “sustainable” information technology based on visions of the world that do not really question limits to continuous economic growth and, on the other hand, others embrace the design of information technology from stances that acknowledges limits (i.e., economic, ecological, energetic). This paper introduces the perspective of social ecology into SHCI. This perspective provides us with a core set of principles that makes us situate computing at the intersection of physical (natural) and moral (human) qualities of our human environment systems. As such it confronts us with choices to be made in the challenging years to come and invites us to argue about the very purpose of information technology in a world of limitations.
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