Emergy in our devices
Environmental footprint, security and privacy online
We’re improving our virtual team and online collaboration skills in order to live locally and not travel that much, and also to make more systemic change impact globally. The point is to reduce our personal and collective environmental footprint.
As recently pointed out in conversation about technology and communication after fosil fuels hosted by Post Carbon Institute:
Modern communications systems send information across vast distances in massive quantities at breathtaking speeds. Every sector of the economy depends on the capture, access, and rapid transmission of information: from stock market quotes to weather forecasts; from orders for replacement parts for the electricity grid to requisitions for restocking supermarket shelves. End-use communications devices such as computers, phones, televisions, and radios rely upon behind-the-scenes infrastructures of wires, fiber-optic cables, routers, servers, broadcasting stations and antennae, and cell towers. All of this technology represents embodied energy and requires operational energy.
We need to be aware that even when we avoid long distance flights, gadgets we use do have quite an environmental impact when we take a look at their full life cycle: starting from mining for raw materials, to all phases of production, to sales, to use, to disposal and/or recycling — and all the transportation in between (by trucks, trains, ships and sometimes by jets). On top of that there is planned obsolescence stupidity. There is some progress, however :) Fairphone for example,
but that’s still marginal compared to mainstream. We do value the marginal though!
It is good idea to be fully aware of all the issues when buying and using our communication and collaboration gadgets.
But that’s not all.
The shadow economy is not just ‘poor’ people. It’s potentially anybody who hasn’t internalised the correct state-corporate narrative of normality, and anyone seeking a lifestyle outside of the mainstream. The future presented by self-styled innovation gurus has no scope for flexible, unpredictable or invisible people.
In this respect, Precautionary Principle might be sensible personal strategy. We’ll revisit topic of security and privacy in virtual team collaboration context here, from time to time.
For more on internet’s total footprint read Why We Need a Speed Limit for the Internet by Kris De Decker at Low-tech Magazine.