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Reducing Your Technology Ecological Footprint

For many of us we have gradually become tethered to our devices around the clock. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, wearables, navigation, smart devices…

Each product consumed resources at every stage from design, manufacturing, distribution, until finally coming into our possession. It will continue to do so during its useful life – through energy use, if nothing else. And disposal may not end the impact; improperly disposed electronics have a deleterious effect on the environment through the uncontrolled dispersal of a wide array of harmful materials.

Think of the mountains of e-waste that accumulate in our society

That is to say, all these gadgets, devices and tools represent an ecological footprint, one that we can scarcely avoid nowadays, but nevertheless one that we should take personal responsibility for. Recognising our impact, there’s many actions available to us in order to tread more lightly.

Things we can all do:

  • Where appropriate turn devices off the wall to stop “phantom” power consumption.

  • As a rule, don’t leave devices on charge past 90 percent.

  • Turn features off on your phone when not using them to save power – Bluetooth, wifi, etc.

  • Reduce the brightness of screens and use a blue light filter. This reduces power and is easier on your eyes.

  • Set power saving modes on computers to turn off the monitor and hard drives sooner.

  • Schedule tech-free time; reducing usage while giving yourself a much-needed reprieve. This is beneficial for your mind and body.

  • Configure your web browser to stop videos from playing automatically. Multimedia consumes system resources and therefore power, often unnecessarily.

  • Stretch out the “replacement cycle”. Ask yourself: Do I really need a new phone/tablet/PC? Or am I being manipulated by marketing and/or societal trends. (Perhaps save up for a nature holiday instead?)

  • Once a device is broken or needs to be replaced: consider donation or use an accredited recycling program. In Australia, 'Recycling Near You' is a good place to start.

  • Where there’s a void of initiatives at your workplace, encourage management to take on the mantle of being a good “corporate citizen”. Efficiency, recycling and power-reduction programs provide the double-dividend of enhanced public image and positive impacts on the bottom line.

  • A great deal of technology use is unavoidable. Consider making a yearly carbon offset contribution – whatever is affordable. Make sure it’s an accredited organisation.

  • Consider using renewable energy to power your home. The ever-decreasing payback period of installations such as solar panels and battery backups make this a sound financial decision, let alone environmental benefits.

  • Reduce printing – Do I really need this email/quote et cetera in hard-copy? Save on ink/toner cartridges, paper and money.

  • Plus so much more…

It’s about taking responsibility and doing what we can, making our “footprint” that much less.

Cliché but true – one person makes a hardly perceptible impact. But together – we make a real difference. And, after all, looking after the planet is in our nature.

Let's not make our ecological footprint heavier than it needs to be


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