The Tenuous Relationship between IT and the Enviro
By BrownCollege

Information Technology, more commonly referred to as IT, is one of the most dominant forces in today's society. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never used a computer, and it would be very difficult to imagine life without these ubiquitous machines. Many people have at least one computer in their home, and most professionals rely on them on a daily basis.

Computers and the Internet have revolutionized the way we search for information, communicate with others, and manage our lives. Without them, we never would have reached our current technological prowess.

So why are so many environmentally conscious organizations taking issue with IT's impact on the environment? Well, when we examine how the production, operation and disposal of these IT powerhouses negatively impact the world around us, we see a big problem. Despite the fact that computers are continually getting smaller and more powerful, their negative environmental impact is growing, and this is having terrible effects on our planet.

How IT Impacts the Environment

IT has several negative impacts on our environment, and it is becoming increasingly important for major IT manufacturers to work towards reducing these impacts as much as possible. Some of the reasons IT negatively affects the environment include:

Manufacturing computers is a materials-intensive process that burns a great deal of fossil fuels. In fact, desktop computers require 10 times their weight in fossil fuels during production, a staggering number that is much higher than most other products (including automobiles!). Substantial quantities of chemicals and water are also used.

Computers consume lots of energy. Although individual computers do not use a large amount of energy while in operation, their very high energy manufacturing process and short lifespan cause them to be incredibly energy-intensive machines. In addition, server centers and organizations that rely on large numbers of computers consume vast amounts of energy every day.

Old computers become garbage in landfills. Because major manufacturers are always coming out with new computers, people are disposing of their old computers quite frequently in order to update to the newest models. Most of these discarded computers end up in landfills, and the environmental impacts are disastrous.

Some have suggested that recycling old computers would help reduce their environmental impact; however, because so much of a computer's energy use comes from the manufacturing process, it would actually be more beneficial to refurbish, upgrade and resell these used machines.

It is clear that our IT-dominated society needs to get proactive about this problem. We must take the measures necessary to reduce the negative environmental impact of computers before it becomes too overwhelming to handle. IT is an integral part of our society, and we are indeed thankful that it's here to stay, but we never want to reach the point where its negative impacts outweigh its positive benefits.

This article is presented by Brown College. Contact us today if you are interested in pursuing a rewarding career through one of our innovative and industry-current degree programs.

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Submitted: 01/19/11

Description: IT has many negative effects on the environment, making it increasingly important for IT manufactureres to mplement practices which reduce these impacts.

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