Greening IT News
Computers are creating massive e-waste. The paper industry has had to double to meet printer demand. But smart technologies are bringing huge savings in energy consumption. As the UN conference on climate change starts in Cancun, the new Global Information Society Watch from APC and Hivos looks at ICTs and environmental sustainability in 53 countries, six regions and through ten expert thematic reports. What is the state of the industry in your country? Find out.
An online calculator of global CO2 savings from the use of IT services instead of flying and commuting; energy saving tips for your computer; websites on environmental activism, indicators and research. This is what you’ll find in APC’s new GreeningIT directory which has more than 100 links to existing sustainable information and communication technology (ICT) tools, practices and initiatives where ICTs, climate change and environmental sustainability meet.
The GreeningIT directory was officially launched today, marking the first open online database of resources that focuses on the intersection of ICTs and environmental sustainability. The directory aims to gather and present a comprehensive annotated list of initiatives, tools and online communities, featuring both innovative and traditional applications of ICTs to address climate change, environmental issues and the environmental impact of ICTs.
Coinciding with World Environment Day EngageMedia is launching a curated compilation of videos that deal with climate change issues from an Asia-Pacific perspective. Time for Reel Action (T4RA) is a video compilation of climate change stories that explores the impacts, the action and climate solutions emerging from the region.
Studies reveal that the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) makes up 2% of all global emissions – the same amount as the airline industry. By 2012, 4.5 billion people will have access to a mobile phone – the majority will be those live on less than USD 2 a day and be the most likely to be affected by climate change. “Planting the Knowledge Seed – Adapting to climate change using ICTs”, a publication from the Building Communication Opportunities alliance, explores the practical linkages between climate change, access to and sharing of information and knowledge and communication for development.
World’s largest non-profit supplier of refurbished computers launches campaign for action against toxic trade
APC member Computer Aid is urging the UK government to take action against the illegal dumping of e-waste (computers, hard drives, cd roms, etc.) in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and China. It is calling on the government to provide adequate funding for the Environment Agency to effectively police and prevent e-waste from being exported to the developing world. The campaign also targets commercial traders that are abusing re-use and recycling initiatives and computer manufacturers that are turning a blind eye to their equipment being dumped in these countries.
APC urges International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to limit use of toxic chemicals in electronics production
APC is supporting environmentalists’ calls to the South African National Committee of the IEC to vote against Clause 7 of IEC Standard 62368. Clause 7 requires that large amounts of fire retardant chemicals be used in electronics production, despite the lack of reliable fire data showing a need for such chemicals. If passed, this clause will make it even more difficult and dangerous to recycle electronic waste, or e-waste, and may pose serious health risks to consumers.
Individual activists and organisations are invited to join an online discussion on the potential of information technology for environmental sustainability. APC, BlueLink Bulgaria, and Ekoforum Serbia will produce a live online talk show from Belgrade in partnership with the UNECE Aarhus Convention Secretariat as a side event to the Sixth Ministerial “Environment for Europe” Conference.
That information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a valuable role to play in building a more fair, just, and sustainable world is well established. APC is a firm believer in the power of these tools to transform lives and communities. And yet, while the benefits of expanding access to ICTs are many, there are negative impacts as well, such as the problems associated with a growing volume of e-waste.
"Someone from the Pacific Islands expressed that the single main challenge with which his region is increasingly faced with is global warming,” Milena Bokova said. Quite striking indeed that the very first workshop at the IGF would list this major environmental phenomenon as the greatest obstacle to making the internet accessible.