Green information technology

Matter of course, illusion or futuristic dream...

Das Festival lud zu einer Veranstaltung zu grüner Informationstechnologie ein

All media professionals use electronic devices – be it only in the home office to record their ideas. Appropriatly, the NaturVision-Filmfestival in Ludwigsburg this year organised a panel discussion to the technology in our everyday life.

The short film STORY OF STUFF demonstrates how our current material economy works – with all its resource-wasting and dehumanising processes: from the extraction of raw materials and their processing to the production of devices, their use and disposal.

For example, 30% of children in the Congo leave school before graduating to mine Coltan. While, six months after purchase, we consumers are only using 1% of the raw materials in smartphones. According to estimates 2.5 tons of gold, 25 tons of silver and 700 tons of copper lie in German drawers in the form of disused mobile phones. Advertisements and marketing propaganda extoll the new and lates resulting in the imagined, and indeed actual, loss of value for many devices.

Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics shows that few ITC companies engage in sustainable production manner and economy management methods. However, various initiatives are now challenging the ITC business. These pioneers seek to convert us from simple consumers to contented users of 'fairly' produced and enduring devices. Such enterprises at the same time work economically and demonstrate how ITC can change. The panel discussion included representatives from handy-aktion.de, the technically advanced and astute Fairphones as well as from nager-it.de.

The new French energy legislation also provides a good example: In future those production companies that intentionally shorten the life span of devices can incur up to two years of custody and a fine.

Since 2013 the international ICT4S conferences – ICT for Sustainability take place annually. They bring information and communication technology experts together with representatives of governments and industries to promote sustainable development.

The old mode of production and usage did not come about by chance, but was man made. So let's take a new course, for there are solutions. Here are a few tips and sources of information:

  • use accumulators, rechargeable batteries
  • when purchasing computers, phones etc. choose manufactureres who pay attention to social standards in their production, produce pollutant-free products or at least with reduced pollution and/or offer effective return policies and disposal option. Find more information at:
        www.clean-it.at
        www.handy-trendy.de
        www.makeitfair.org
        www.nabu-umwelt-tarif.de
        www.pcglobal.org
  • when purchasing hardware and software look for minimal support requirements (e.g. avoiding software which is known for many run time errors).
  • ask server hosting operators whether they use waste heat of the servers and computers to generate electricity or for space heating or know other possible savings.
  • keep detailed inventories of existing hardware and software to avoid unnecessary purchases and reduce waste. Devices should be used as long as they work, regardless of fashion
  • the aim is an integrated production circle with efficient recycling, to minimise damage to the environmental and society, also in the countries of the global south
  • green chemistry
  • repair rather than dispose of faulty devices
  • be active in society, try to influence politicians
  • learn about the environmental and health advantages of products awarded with the label Blue Angel
  • find information about power-saving ITC at www.ecotopten.de/produktfeld_informieren.php.

Corporations calculate that only two out of ten consumers will complain to them. Hence your enquiries will have a fivefold effect! Let's conduct the necessary dialogues!