Digital sustainability and the choir of many voices
(Photo by Victoria Prymark on Unsplash)

Digital sustainability and the choir of many voices

Our appetite for digital content is voracious. But Digital infrastructure brings with it an environmental and social footprint.

Summary: Digital sustainability is an important issue that requires a multi-faceted approach to address the complex challenges posed by the growth of digital technology. Solutions and approaches need to encompass a number of areas including data centres, interfaces (websites and apps), connection (data transmission) and the devices that use to consume data and content (TV, mobile devices, computers etc). We also look at e-waste and social considerations briefly.

Why this is important: Sometimes our human activities are big and obvious - industrial processes need heat and pressure, from burning of fossil fuels, and emit greenhouse gases as byproducts. Sometimes they're small and not so obvious - streaming content from the cloud. Understanding the impact of activities can influence design, policy and marginal consumption choices.

The big theme: Greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are impacting the amount of heat that escapes our atmosphere and driving global warming. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (NO2) have increased by more than 40, 150 and almost 20 percent respectively since pre-industrial revolution times. Over half of the CO2 rise has happened since 1970.

The details

Where I grew up, EVERYONE supported West Ham United. Not really that much of a surprise as their training ground was very close to where we lived. The football team that you end up supporting can be driven by a number of factors from the hereditary (your parents supported that team and hence you do) to the geographical (they are physically your local team) to the populist (they are currently doing well or are the most popular).

For me it was just about being different.

Arsenal were a rival London team and I really liked their blue and yellow away kit. Of course it was then helped by the last minute winner in the 1979 FA Cup final by Alan Sunderland against Man Utd. I was from that point on a Gooner.

The thing that always struck me most, and still does about live football and many other sports is the noise of the ground. Sometimes it is grunting and groaning, sometimes it is chanting and then, particularly in football, it is singing.

An individual fan only makes so much noise, but put tens of thousands of them together and they make quite the impact. A choir of many voices.

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