- Environmental Impact Of Information Technology
- What Is Green It
- Environmental Impact Of Using Paper Forms
- Smes Seek Environmental Impact Data
Environmental Impact Of Information Technology – It is hard to imagine what life would be like without technology. From computers, cars to smartphones, technology has become an essential part of almost every aspect of life. Have you ever stopped to consider the negative impact of technology on the environment?
We often see technology as a means to improve our lives, and in many cases, this is mostly true. Even “green” technology may not be so environmentally friendly. So how exactly does technology negatively affect the environment?
Environmental Impact Of Information Technology
Perhaps the most significant negative side effect of technology on the environment is the pollution it produces. Your laptop and phone may not directly release emissions, but generate all the electricity they use
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. Most energy comes from fossil fuels, so the more energy we use, the more emissions we cause.
Internet functions, like using cellular data on your phone, rely on data centers. These massive server networks use an equally huge amount of electricity. Some? Using your phone for just one hour a day can produce 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The production and shipping of technology also leads to more emissions. Factories need energy and trucks need diesel. As the world buys new gadgets, that means more emissions from the manufacturing and logistics industries. Unfortunately, since the advent of electricity, technology and pollution have gone hand in hand. Pollution is a perfect example of a new technology that has a negative impact on sustainability.
The creation of our gadgets requires many resources, which may also harm the environment. The materials in technology all come from somewhere, so using too much can deplete the world’s natural resources. Perhaps the biggest negative environmental impact of technology in this regard is habitat destruction.
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Even if a factory uses all renewable, sustainably sourced materials, it still needs space. Converting the site to a new facility often involves things like deforestation. Clearing all this land causes the animals in the area to lose their homes, which can lead to danger.
Many gadgets contain minerals that companies have to mine from the ground. Removing too many of these can offset the natural balance of the area. Even if this is not a problem, the mining process is usually a process that involves a lot of pollutants. Just the creation of a device is one of the biggest examples of how technology can negatively impact the environment.
Another negative impact technology has on the environment is waste management. New electronics are released frequently, leading users to get rid of their old ones to buy the newest releases. That’s all well and good if they recycle them properly, but that’s not the case a lot of the time.
When it comes to disposing of old electronics, you may not know how to properly recycle them. It’s easier to just throw them in the trash. However, this can be harmful, as many electronic products contain toxic metals, which can be harmful if they leak into the environment.
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Fortunately, it’s not all bad news with technology and the environment. While there are clear negative effects of technology on the environment, technology may also provide a way forward. One of the most promising examples of this is in renewable energy.
Thanks to advances in technology, renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuel in some areas today. Over time, this technology will improve, making it even more affordable. With this financial advantage, renewable energy can finally overtake fossil fuels, making energy consumption less of an environmental problem.
Many new technologies focus on offering more energy efficient processes than their older counterparts. As the general public grows more concerned about the environment, more tech companies will pursue greener initiatives like this.
Understanding the negative impact of technology on the environment is the first step in going green. Technology can be a useful asset in sustainability, but only if we use it correctly. Knowing the environmental risks that technology presents can help push towards a greener future.
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Technology and the environment are more connected than you might realize. If you understand these connections, you can do your part in the pursuit of sustainability.
If digital technology were a country, it would have 2 to 3 times the ecological footprint of France.
Streaming videos, storing documents in the cloud, sending emails… all these activities have become commonplace in our personal and professional lives. It is hard to imagine the extent of the environmental impact of our digital tools. And yet, digital technology is not as abstract as you might think!
Understanding The Environmental Impact Of The Internet
What obscure aspects of digital technology are still not widely known? Where does its ecological footprint come from and which digital interactions have the greatest impact?
Here’s an overview of the biggest environmental issues of digital technology, to give you guidance and comparisons. Expert sources mentioned throughout the article will help you delve deeper into the topics that interest you.
In practical terms, we’ll start by looking at digital sobriety, starting with ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our digital habits.
Interwoven in many aspects of our lives, digital technology is an unlimited tool for progress, and provides us with countless possibilities: communication, knowledge transfer, understanding scientific phenomena, buying, production, facilitating all kinds of money flows and services, entertainment and virtual workspaces, etc.
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Having become unnecessary, this precious resource is not as insignificant or insignificant as we think it is. We suspect that there is another reality behind our screens… but what is it?
While we often associate digital technology with a large virtual system, we tend to forget its physicality, which is very real. So what are the negative effects of digital life?
According to Frederick Burdage’s research, in his work Towards digital sobriety, for the “digital galaxy” to function, it consists of:
And the digital universe is growing exponentially! Experts predict that it will increase 5 times between 2010 and 2025. This huge amount of equipment requires more and more raw materials, resources and energy to keep expanding. This now poses a major ecological problem.
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Despite its ethereal language (digitization, cloud, virtual reality, etc.), digital technology has physical consequences, so it makes sense that there are consequences for the planet and humans.
To measure the environmental impact of digital technology, we must consider all the impacts of a digital product’s life cycle: design, extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing of components, assembly, transportation, energy consumption during its use and finally recycling.
Digital technology’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions is rising sharply and could double by 2025 to reach 8% according to the Shift Project’s report on the environmental impact of digital technology and the rollout of 5G.
It has become more essential than ever for all digital players and their users to address this issue and explore solutions to reduce their digital footprint.
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It involves moving towards greater restraint in our use of digital technology: which is what digital sobriety is all about. To update you, we wanted to look at the bigger picture to better understand the impact of our digital usage and consumption, as well as look at ways to start taking action.
Extensive research and studies have been carried out in this area, which we have used as a basis for this article. However, while these data can help understand the global nature of the problem and take ownership of the key issues, everything is relative and needs to be qualified.
Indeed, it is difficult to obtain data to quantify the number of operating devices, for example. The estimates used below come from the Greenit.fr Environmental Footprint of the Digital World report. They are based on life cycle inventory analysis using sales and life expectancy data and collecting data from public and private companies.
To understand the different sources of digital pollution in more detail, we used the different categories of digital equipment as listed by Greenit.fr:
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Ingeniously designed, light, practical and high-performance objects… which actually hide a completely different reality. Before landing in our pockets or on our desks, smartphones, laptops and all other types of digital terminals traveled thousands of miles!
They started in mines (extraction of rare earth elements for their ingredients), then assembled in another corner of the earth and finally transported and distributed to their final point of sale. All this requires a significant amount of materials and fossil fuels.
Depending on the model, manufacturing and transporting a laptop emits between 160 and 480 kg of CO2, not including its use.
According to ADEME, digital equipment accounts for 47% of the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and its manufacturing process has the greatest impact, more so than its use.
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No, the internet is not floating in the air! We can only connect to the Internet thanks to a vast network of underwater cables. It