Are we green enough? No I am not talking about the colour of our TV, mobile phone or our laptop but a technology that tries to conserve the natural environment and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement.
I suppose it’s the last thing on our minds when trying to catch the latest offers on electronics out there or trying to save some money. And when we do get round to buying the latest technology, it’s not long before it becomes outdated. The pressure to keep with the latest gadgets and impress friends and colleagues is one of many incentives to throw away those old phones, laptops and TVs. For this and many other reasons electronic products are amongst the fastest growing portion of waste in the world. According to IBM, in 2007 the USA either replaced or simply threw away over 63 million computers. The older the technology the more toxic is its affect on the environment.
While Bill Gates, one of the richest men on the planet and founder of one of the largest software company in the world argues that small-scale green technologies are merely ‘cute’ in the bigger picture and make no real different to improving or sustaining the environment, it is still worth considering. Home solar panels and personal wind turbrines can help make the small difference.
A recent Greenpeace report highlighted that major IT companies are heavily reliant on coal power, which has an extremely polluting affect on the environment. Their list placed Apple at the bottom of the green league table of technology companies as Apple’s banks of servers run on coal power. The dependence on coal power is so much that Apple’s data centres are 53.2% reliant, IMB at 51.6%, HP at 49.4% and Twitter at 42.5%. The top Greenpeace marks went to Yahoo, Google and Amazon.
Much of the reliance on coal power is due to the popularity and growth of ‘Cloud Computing’ where large servers are kept in data centers so that smaller companies do not have to invest in hardware. But this reliance of smaller companies on larger firms comes at a price. Data centre energy demand already accounts for 1.5% to 2% of world electricity consumption and is set to quadruple over the next 10 years. Now that is scary if you measure it in terms of damage done to the environment.
With all the doom and gloom about dirty technology, you might be happy to hear that there are little things we can do to make a difference, even if they are merely ‘cute’ in the eyes of Mr. Gates. While major changes take longer, I believe every little can help.
Here are my useful tips:
Download music rather than buy CDs
Keep your laptop as cool as possible so it uses less energy to keep it running
Use your laptop batteries; you do not always have to use the power cable
Switch off from mains rather than keep on sleep mode
Use energy efficient monitors
If you’re planning to get rid of your old Plasma or LCD TVs try and replace it with the new LED TVs, which are most energy efficient out of the lot.
Set your PC or laptop to the most energy efficient mode (check the relevant model and make for instruction)
If you’re living in country such as Egypt, where sunshine isn’t scarce, try use solar powered chargers rather than powered from the mains.
Try and invest in solar powered laptop bags. They simply charge your laptop on the go and save you carrying the extra bulk of cables
With the above helpful tips, you may not be able to save the world from major environmental damage but am sure you will be making a positive difference.