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The Evolvement of Technology over Decades and the Continuing Effect on the Environment

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The Evolvement of Technology over Decades and the continuing effect on the Environment | IT Essay | | The following text is characterized by an Essay in which it outlines in four solid body paragraphs, integral identified reasons whereby technology has developed, progressed and advanced over decades and what problems these are causing the environment. | | Chenoa Fawkes | 3/18/2014 | |

Trends in Information and Communications in Technology have constantly evolved over the past century. The way information was stored has significantly changed. The way we communicate. The gadgets and devices we use to operate our daily life. Even to the point of programs on the computer that you simply press a button and amazing things happen. The problem we need to greatly consider is ‘What Impact does all these new sophisticated technologies have on the environment?’ When you consider the negative impacts on the environment in regards to ICT, it is frightening to think that there are some very harmful issues. Such issues include the production and distribution of ICT equipment, energy consumption and carbon emission during the use and disposal and recycling of equipment.
Production and distribution of computers and other electronic devices is a very complicated and sometimes harmful process. Assembling a computer involves up to 1000 items, many of which are highly poisonous. ‘The list includes chlorinated and brominated substances, toxic gases, toxic metals, photoactive and biologically active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives, as well as lead and cadmium in computer circuit boards, lead oxide and barium in the monitors' cathode ray tubes, mercury in switches and flat screens, and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, cables and plastic casings.’ (Places) This indicates immediately that the procedure of assembling a computer is very dangerous, not only for the environment but for the people installing the computer. Assembling a computer uses mass amounts of energy and also produces millions of greens house gases each year.
It is vital to continue considering this question; ‘What Impact does all these new sophisticated technologies have on the environment?’ Before the world can take technology to a new perspective in regards to it acting as the ’nucleus’ of our lives. Under this question, lie many queries and one of them being the energy consumption in running electronic devices and more so; carbon emissions. A study was conduction at Victoria University in Melbourne in relation to carbon emissions in ICT’s excluding radio and television. The pie chart shows of the 1 Gigatonne of carbon emitted, 40% comes from PCs and monitor. This means computers alone emit over one third of the carbon calculated in this study. As part of this study, a framework of analysis was created which ultimately underlined the effects that technologies have on the environment. This study concluded; ‘We also need to examine ways to make ICTs zero-carbon, not just energy efficient, and to find ways for ICTs to support and enable transition to alternative energy systems.’ (Houghton) Accordingly, it is absolutely integral that individuals take a personal interest in what effect their new and amazing technological device is having on the environment.

It is a frequently asked question as to how computers are dealt with after they die or become beyond usable. ‘The process of building computers affects the environment. Energy is used and greenhouse gases are produced. Each year, millions of empty laser cartridges and discarded computers are dumped in tips as landfill.’ (Places) It is estimated that a computer will reach its use-by date by approximately four years. This is just the beginning of disposing of old hardware or maybe developing new innovations to appropriately recycle this equipment ‘There is no reason why we cannot dispose of old equipment responsibly, recycle safely and manufacture new equipment with sensitivity to these environmental issues.’ (Places) There are organizations around the world that generate a non-profit enterprise that claims used and destroyed computers. This is a very responsible manner in which hardware is disposed of and also if a computer is in a good enough condition, it then undertakes the required procedures to be repaired so that it can be used again. Some computers can be dismantled and worthwhile parts are claimed then used for repair. These organizations are known as e-waste and donate used but repaired computers to those in need. All in all, the disposal of hardware and peripheral equipment is an extremely challenging concept in which scientist are continually endeavoring to develop new, effective and efficient ways of recycling.
It is clear that through today’s continually changing world, it is vital to consider once again ‘What Impact does all these new sophisticated technologies have on the environment?’ This is a global challenge that scientists and other professionals are taking extremely serious. This is simply because of the long term effects technologies could have on the environment. It is evident that the production and distribution of computer hardware is not only a poisonous procedure but a very complicated and tedious job. The production is a very toxic process in which could eventually be damaging to those who construct the peripherals. The aforementioned discusses a study carried out at the Victorian University in Melbourne whereby a pie chart shows the carbon released by various electronic technologies. It is clearly seen the huge 40% of the carbon emitted purely by PCs and monitors. This is over one-third of the total gigabyte of carbon released by electronics excluding television and radio. Finally, it is imperative that peripherals and hardware are disposed of adequately so to maintain a ‘greener’ and more of an eco-friendly environment. Above all, we need to take special interest in the environmental status so that we understand the ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to the production, distribution, usage, disposal and recycling of computer hardware.

Houghton, J. ICT and the Environment. Melbourne: Centre for Strategic Economic Studies Victoria University, Melbource.
Places, P. (n.d.).…_Software_Technology/ctl/ViewUnit/mid/6077.aspx?cID=714&uID=3044. Retrieved from

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