Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Technology and the Environment

I've had lots of thoughts on this topic recently. Does the high-tech equipment that we use in our lives now benefit or harm the environment? For example, has the rise of the Internet age reduced paper usage? Has it increased energy demands?

At my school, every single student is provided with a laptop computer, supposedly with the purpose of cutting paper usage by allowing students to take notes and complete homework on the computer. However, I have found that our school still uses a ton of paper. Many teachers demand that all work be handed in as a "hard copy" instead of virtually. Likewise, many students dislike reading off of a computer screen and ask for a printout instead.

The printers in our school library are always jammed full - people rush to print out large documents such as powerpoints. When the printer does not immediately respond, they become impatient and print multiple times to each printer, not only slowing down the printing process but wasting loads of paper in the process.

Our ecology club manages all the recycling in the school and we have noticed that the recycling bin by the printers is ALWAYS incredibly full. Well, at least the paper is recycled, right?
Plus, factor in the amount of electricity needed to power all of the laptops, and the impact of manufacturing the machines and their chargers and cases.

So, do you have any experiences with technology and its impacts on the environment? Any thoughts?

This image is from www.computerclearancecentre.co.uk.


Anna said...

Thanks for the comment and I am loving your blog! I consider myself to be quite green - I became vegan mostly because of the environmental impact of farm animals, I walk everywhere, I live to compost, and I pick through the trash after my roommates throw away things that should be recycled. I think that most people are just uneducated and unmotivated to save the planet. Thank you for creating this blog to get people to think!

Molly said...

Thanks for commenting too! That's great that you are so committed to the environment, inspiring really!