It may be trite to begin a Green IT blog post by stealing a line from Kermit the Frog. But this misappropriated malapropos repeats in my mind as we grapple with our Sustainable IT methodology. It’s not easy being green. We are fighting climate change, which means that we need to slow the warming of a planetary weather system. How could it be easy? So far, worldwide efforts to go green are a failure. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise and even the rate at which they increase is increasing.
It is for good reason that environmental writers such as Thomas Friedman and Bill McKibben deride the glib green-washing group of copy writers crowing over their ten easy steps green guides. Bill McKibben’s group, 350.org, makes the case that we need to lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350ppm as quickly as possible or risk global climate catastrophe.
Into this climate cacophony steps Greener Gadgets with their upcoming Green Gadget conference in New York. This event was brought to my attention by Roger Bruist, our new Green Technology Architect. My initial reaction was entirely negative. A gadget is usually an ingeniously engineered article whose function is often less important than its design. I’m of the belief that we need to go back to basics to save the planet. Too many of the gadgets I see around our office are cheap toys hawked by sites such as ThinkGeek.com.
On closer examination, however, it appears that that the green gadgeteers have put together a program that addresses many of the same issues we confront as we build our Sustainable IT methodology. Given the real energy and resource costs of PC manufacturing, when is it responsible to replace existing equipment with more efficient models? How do we bring technology to the developing world in areas that need to develop a power infrastructure not based on our current carbon-intensive model? It looks like I’ll be taking the train to New York in a couple of months to find out.