Insights

Data is out of control: the story of COVID and airborne transmission

Data is out of control. Content is out of control. In fact, data and content were never in control for the vast majority of organizations. Content management was always a joke. Data management was always a joke. At best, we have data and content publishing and storage. Only a tiny fraction of organizations that I have dealt with in almos... Read More »

Pat and Nuala Geoghegan’s farm

Pat and Nuala Geoghegan are farmers from Askeaton, County Limerick. As the crow flies or the wind-based red dust pollution drifts, Askeaton is about eight kilometers (five miles) from Aughinish. Aughinish comes from the Irish word eachinis, meaning horse island. It was an island but is now a peninsula, jutting out into the Shannon estuar... Read More »

‘Clean’ and ‘green’ aluminum

Alumina is vital for modern, technology-driven living, and since 1970, there has been an almost 600% increase in its mining. Between 2000 and 2021, global yearly primary production has almost trebled, going from 25,000 thousand metric tons to 67,000 thousand metric tons, according to the International Aluminum Institute. While recycling ... Read More »

Our brains are energy-expensive—we should use them more

Gram for gram, the brain takes a lot of energy to run. The average brains weighs about 1,300 grams and consumes about 20% of total body energy. (The pollution impact of all this energy consumption is that the average human body emits about 1 kg of CO2 per day.) The average adult weight is about 60 kg. So, the brain comprises about 2% of ... Read More »

Heavy websites are a tax on poor and environment

Those who can least afford the Internet pay most for it. These poorer people, often from minority groups, pay a double exploitative tax when they visit websites that are often 10 times heavier and slower than they need to be. Even when this is pointed out, the managers of such websites rarely take action to make their websites less discr... Read More »

Material complexity hurts reusability, repairability and recyclability

Today’s smartphones are incredibly complex and a great deal of this complexity is unnecessary. “It is very realistic to think that there are 1,000 substances involved in making a phone,” Thea Kleinmagd, a circular material chains innovator at Fairphone, tells me. “For producing one phone, you move 75 kg of materials. This includes the fu... Read More »

Measuring the total cost of a smartphone

We cannot survive as a species if we do not measure the total costs to the Earth and the environment of our activities. This total cost accounting begins with examining how the things we use on a day-to-day basis are made. Thea Kleinmagd is a circular material chains innovator at Fairphone. When you are buying your next smartphone, ple... Read More »

Design for the materials, design for reuse

To survive, humans must develop a vastly greater respect for Earth’s materials. Nowhere is this respect lacking more than in Big Tech, an industry whose very foundations are built on the destruction of the maximum quantity of materials possible in the shortest time possible in the pursuit of the maximum profit possible. There follows a... Read More »

E-waste recycling should be a last resort

We cannot have an environment that will last if we don’t design to last. We must design buildings to last hundreds of years. We must design smartphones to last at least ten years. We must design laptops to last at least twenty years. Big Tech profits from and is a key driver of the extinction of life on Earth. Greed and short-term thin... Read More »

Citizen activism for more sustainable tech

What can an individual do to make the most sustainable choice when buying a new laptop or smartphone? Don’t buy. Hold on to your device for one more year. “As an individual, there is very little you can do,” scientist Josh Lepawsky explains. “I know that that can be a depressing thing. But if you think about going into an electronics s... Read More »