Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Digital Delusion: Making and using computers isn't green, coal powered plants are keeping your computer humming all day

The widespread adoption of sustainable print and digital media supply chains can change our world again and help us to restore our environment.
According to MIT researcher Timothy Gutowski (as quoted in Low-Tech Magazine), manufacturing a one kilogram plastic or metal part requires as much electricity as operating a flat screen television for 1 to 10 hours. And the energy requirements of semiconductor manufacturing techniques are much higher than that, up to 6 orders of magnitude (that's 10 raised to the 6th power) above those of conventional manufacturing processes.

SHOOT: I have been saying for quite some time that I believe the biggest threat to the internet is the mandatory energy usage involved both in production and everyday utility [contributing increasingly in energy supply limits and inevitably, blackouts].
clipped from www.pbs.org
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There is growing recognition that digital media technology uses significant amounts of energy from coal fired power plants which are making a significant contribution to global warming. Greenpeace estimates that by 2020 data centers will demand more electricity than is currently demanded by France, Brazil, Canada, and Germany combined. What is less widely known is that mountaintop-removal coal mining is also a major cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the pollution of over 1,200 miles of headwater streams in the United States.

If your goal is to save trees or do something good for the environment, the choice to go paperless may not be as green or simple as some would like you to think.

America's adoption of networked broadband digital media and "cloud-based" alternatives to print are driving record levels of energy consumption.
ilove mountains map.jpg
To find out how much of the energy you use comes from mountaintop coal you can visit What's My Connection to Mountaintop Removal?
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