APC has recently published a new guide for the everyday computer user on how to make more ecological choices when using technology. The Practical guide to sustainable IT offers a detailed, hands-on introduction to thinking about sustainable computing holistically; starting with the choices you make when buying technology, and the software and peripherals you use, through to how you store and work with information, manage your security, save power, and maintain and dispose of your old hardware. Suggestions and advice for policy makers are also included, along with some practical tips for internet service providers.
Written by IT expert and environmentalist Paul Mobbs, the purpose of the guide is to encourage ICT-for-development (ICTD) practitioners to begin using technology in an environmentally sound way. But its usefulness extends beyond this to everyday consumers of technology, whether in the home or office environment.
The guide was developed on behalf of the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), with funding support from the International Development Research Centre. It forms part of APC’s work on ICTs environmental sustainability.
“The importance of this book is it’s not just a practical guide — yes, the ‘how to’ details are there —- but what makes this book remarkable is that Paul has integrated these practical considerations with a broader world-view on sustainability. It suggests a way of looking at the world beyond technology, at how we live in it, and what we need to do to lessen the catastrophic impact we’re having on it,” says APC’s ICTs and environmental sustainability programme coordinator Alan Finlay:
The guide is divided into 11 units which build thematically on the ones that have come before. They can be read consecutively, or separately. The “unit” approach allows the sections to be updated over time, extracted for use as resource guides in workshops, or shared easily with colleagues and friends.
“If we’re going to have access to these technologies in the future, without harming the planet or depleting the resources from which they are manufactured, we must learn to plan our use of information systems… minimising their environmental impact,” Mobbs writes in his book. “We can all play our part, and the practice of sustainable computing will go a long way in helping to tackle the environmental crisis facing our planet,” he says.
The book is available online for free download by unit or as a whole.
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world. www.apc.org
More about APC’s ICTs and environmental sustainability programme: greeningit.apc.org
For more information about the book: