[Answered] The environmental footprint of various digital technologies is slowly and steadily growing, and the issue requires urgent attention. Discuss.

Introduction: Provide a brief introduction with some facts and figures related to the environmental footprint of various digital technologies.

Body: Write 4-5 points explaining the level of pollution and sources of pollution due to digital technologies. Write some solutions to tackle it.

Conclusion: Conclude on a neutral line, telling benefits of digital technology and why it should be made sustainable.

The digital technologies have cut down the usage of physical resources like paper. But the carbon emissions produced from manufacturing, powering, and cooling computers and data centers is increasing. In fact, according to a 2019 study by the Shift Project, the world’s collective digital carbon footprint accounted for nearly 3.7 percent of all greenhouse emissions, which is comparable to aviation industry emission levels. Moreover, digital technology’s energy consumption increased by almost 70% between 2013 and 2020.

Issues:

  • Electricity consumption: Power required to run the servers themselves and air conditioning systems needed to run them also consume a lot of energy. Data farms generate enormous heat, and need very powerful air conditioning systems to maintain optimum temperature.
  • Water consumption: The data centres tend to use up water resources and heat the cities where they are located, despite all the air conditioning.
  • Replacement Rather Than Repair: Most of the digital sector is based on the fundamental concept of replacement rather than repair. Many people replace their mobile phones at least every two years.
  • Software Development Forces Hardware Upgrades: Inevitably, the consumer has to pay more to replace equipment or hardware. It leads to massive redundancy with older equipment frequently simply being thrown away.
  • While many companies claim to power their data centre’s using renewable energy, in some parts of the world they are still largely powered from the burning of fossil fuels.

Solutions:

  • Cooling methods: Tried building submerged data centers in the sea to ensure they remain cool without the need for air conditioners.
  • Educating users: This means educating individuals and companies about how to avoid digital waste and the disproportionate use of energy. In other words, this means introducing and mainstreaming the notion of digital moderation.
  • Promoting ecological digital uses: by making the eco-design of websites, building more energy efficient chips and creating an eco-design reference system.
  • Introducing environmental regulations to prevent increased consumption and emissions from networks and data centers.
  • Making data center operations more energy efficient while also using renewable sources, rather than thermal-fueled electricity.

In the present world, data is the new oil and like oil, data is valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. The greening of digital technologies is the next struggle in our hyper-connected era.  It’s today’s emissions that cause tomorrow’s climate change. We all need to take full responsibility for our digital carbon footprint today.

Print Friendly and PDF
Blog
Academy
Community