Four Conversations on Greening ICT

February 23, 2010

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are widely believed to be key tools for minimizing human impact on the environment. For example, pollution sensors can make the relationship between humans, technology, and their impact on climate change more clear.

These technologies are part of the solution, but they are also part of the problem.

Electronics are produced with many toxic chemicals and non-renewable resources, including flame-retardants and heavy metals. Energy is required to make these electronics and to maintain the infrastructure to power them. And, with today’s typically short life cycles for things like computers and cell phones, e-waste – electronic trash – is a huge challenge.

We bring you four extended conversations on greening ICT:

Casey Harrell of Greenpeace believes that focusing on electronics manufacturers directly is a better strategy for greening the industry than fighting for regulatory reform.  He discusses the strategy employed by Greenpeace to work with the industry to green electronics in terms of the materials they are made with, the energy they use, and what we do with them after they stop working.

Can live data streams about our environment become a kind of media that changes our behavior?  Architects Soo-In Yang and David Benjamin use architecture as a media platform for public and participatory media on the environment.

Photographer Misty Keasler makes visible the impact of e-waste – “the most toxic consumer trash that exists” – on people across the globe. Keasler discusses the role of the still image in extending the “half-life of awareness” on social and environmental issues.

Smart Grid analyst David Leeds believes that the most significant reductions in greenhouse emissions are attainable by upgrading our electrical grid.  He talks us through his comprehensive report on the Smart Grid industry – what it is, what the big challenges are, and what’s in store for the future.

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Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Projects, Social Impact