Digital technology is often presented as an ally in the war against climate change, by allowing us to meet remotely via video or by avoiding printing paper documents. But is it really so virtuous? The emissions of gases that warm the atmosphere (Green House Gases CO2 and Methane) from digital technology represents 4% of total emissions ( according to GreenIT.fr), as much as the airline industry today.
Raynold Wonder Alorse, a PhD candidate in the International Political Economy of Mining at Queen’s University in Ontario, reminds us here of the heavy environmental footprint of Tech, including AI ( Artificial Intelligence).
Our smartphones rely on rare earth metals, and cloud computing, data centres, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies consume large amounts of electricity, often sourced from coal-fired power plants.In The Conversation, December 8, 2019.
It a fact that given the negligeable cost of an email, an hour on Zoom or Teams , or an hour of video gaming, YouTube, Netflix or TikTok watching, we are not incentivized to moderate our use of digital tools, whether at work or at home.
In the end, this emission and consumption of digital content impacts the environment and our mental health. Several days of action exist around the world and in Canada to raise awareness about the negative impacts of excessive digital use. Tech for Good Canada actively supports them!
The Global Day of Unplugging: from Sundown March 3 to Sundown March 4, 2023
Originating in the United States, the Global Day of Unplugging invites everyone to choose activities off screen during the evening of March 3rd and the day of Saturday March 4th, 2023.
We are participating by offering to join a pay-as-you-can Digital Collage / Fresque du Numérique workshop in French or in English. This interactive workshop is held in groups of 6 around a table to understand and act on the environmental impact of the digital technology (from smart phones to servers and video consumption).
This workshop in English is called the Digital Collage.
A Simple and Fun Unplugged Family and School Activity: The Digital Collage, Junior Edition
The Digital Collage in its classic version is for all ages (over 15). Its Junior edition is perfectly suited to an unplugged family activity, when adults and children of a family participate together. Indeed, in the space of 3 hours, it helps raise awareness among pre-teens and teenagers on the impact on the planet and on their mental health of their often unbridled consumption of video games, social networks and YouTube videos.
That’s why we’re also offering a Junior Digital Collage family session on March 4 or 5 in the afternoon (between 3pm and 6pm), in French or in English as well. The date will be confirmed soon. Indicate your preference here.
The Junior Digital Collage is also a great workshop to run in a school setting.
Digital Clean Up Day: March 18, 2023
After World Clean Up Day, the Digital Clean Up Day emerged out of Estonia, one of the world’s most digitized nation, and one all the more aware of the detrimental side effects of uninformed use of digital technology.
It’s on Saturday, March 18th in 2023. They offer ways to clean up your digital junk here. We encourage all to join us in a big digital spring cleaning!
We also put together some advice here for earth-friendly browser and other digital habits, such as recycling your smart phone and tablet, and reducing video consumption, in Canada.