THE BOOK OF 25 – CHAPTER 17
Going, going gone GREEN
How ‘green’ is the computer? This simple question uncovered a history of computing that makes the word green and a computer an(1) oxymoron. The search to discover that the idea of a Green PC, or what constitutes a Green PC, was so novel that there was not a lot of information available or the same information was repeated in many articles. And to make matters worse, it was jargon based with chemical names with many warnings to our environment. It’s now easier to understand why the greening of PC’s may take time as anything to do with the past with computers and the immediate future is difficult to change and Go Green. When you think of computers you think of convenience in all aspects of our life. But when you think Green solutions to solve this issue, answers are not that easy to find. So they have been ignored, until recently. The history of the environment and computers being a source of anti- green thinking only became an issue in 2002 and then by 2006, there were alarm bells being sounded to alert us to a potential problem. 2010 brings into sharper focus the greening of our environment; “green buildings” as in architecture, modes of green-communication, as in less corporate travel, people do care about this Greening.
I can see that it will make some companies in the future exceedingly wealthy to get involved in fixing these complicated issues. The computers we use by nature are toxic. This is one of those, did you know moments? I didn’t. A typical computer contains lead, in the soldering of motherboards, micro- processors and other parts. Plastics, which are not biodegradable and other environmentally unstable metals such as, mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and some brominated flame retardants. All these come with lethal deadly label warnings in labs and we have daily access to them, at our fingertips. Most have been banned or forbidden since 2006 but are still in existing computers. Even after the ban, the problem is that these computers will then just be thrown into the garbage. That is the main issue the computer parts can kill us, if we just ignore them. These materials are so harmful, yet that is the equipment you, we, I have in our homes and business worldwide. It’s not so much, that the computers we use and keep in functioning working order can harm us, it’s the computers we discard that becomes the issue as then these chemicals breakdown in dump sites. It was estimated in April 2002 the billionth personal computer was bought. In 2010, the estimate of working, configured, post-assembly line computers would be 1-Billion 100-Million and a global (guesstimate) of all working computers is over six billion. Statistics, do vary as there are no real computer watchdog forums for exact numbers, these are educated guesses. There are a whopping 6,499,697,060 worldwide computer users, according to Internet world stats. As you can understand, it is a staggering issue. I cannot conceive of this situation being solved unless by a miracle, all the countries in the world work on a Global solution.