[linux-elitists] BBC: Computers 'must become greener'

Joakim Ziegler joakim@avmaria.com
Sun Mar 7 23:10:11 PST 2004

On Sun, 2004-03-07 at 18:21, James Morris wrote:

>  It found that manufacturing a 24kg PC with monitor needs at least 240kg 
>  of fossil fuels to provide the energy, and 22kg of chemicals. Add to 
>  that, 1.5 tonnes of water, and your desktop system has used up the weight 
>  of a sports utility vehicle in materials before it even leaves the factory.

>  Compare this with cars or refrigerators, which use only between one and 
>  two times their weight in fossil fuels, and it is clear that making more 
>  than 130 million computers worldwide has a significant impact. 

Of course, refrigerators and (especially) cars weigh a lot more than
computers, and there are a lot more of them in the world than there are
computers. Also, sure, some areas in the world are short on water, but
others are not, so why is "1.5 tonnes of water" significant? And what's
with the "chemicals"? Wow, the scary, generic chemicals, they must all
be bad! Also, who knows that the power you use is produced by fossil

I'm not saying that there's no environmental impact from computer
production (although, as I understand it, the major environmental impact
from computers comes when they're scrapped), but this article is pretty
bogus, and seemingly designed to stir up environmentalists against the
evils of computing. They even throw a random SUV reference in there,
just because everyone knows SUVs are bad.

> I don't see why any normal user would need a new computer these days.  
> You can easily buy used brand name computers on online from the
> manufacturer for as little 10% of the cost of a new machine.

There's also too little information here about what we can do to avoid
this. "Never buying a new computer" is not an option for me, nor is it
for most people, I imagine. The most long-term reusable part of a
computer is the case, and that's probably not the most environmentally
unfriendly one to produce.

So, does anyone have data on what parts of a computer pollute the most?
What should one avoid? I know there's a lot of bad crap in CRT monitors;
are LCDs better? And so on.

   The Private Joakim Ziegler - Not Speaking For Anyone But Myself
    joakim@avmaria.com - http://www.avmaria.com - rdgzt@Undernet
            http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.fix.no/

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