A Digital Lie: No Impact on Environment


Modern electronics manufacturers have had a long-term strategy to make their industry seem less polluting than the industries that came before.

“There’s this long-standing tendency to think about and talk about and market digital to occur or happen in a placeless place,” Josh Lepawsky told me. “We use words like ‘virtual.’ That isn’t an accident. It has been part of the conversation around the industries that design, make and build electronics devices really since their inception.”

Environmental Impact of Manufacturing Electronics

Dr. Josh Lepawsky, from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, is fascinated by connections between geography, technological systems, and their discards. He researches waste from the manufacturing of electronics to the end of their life. His work has truly opened my eyes to the huge impact the manufacturing of electronics has on the environment.

Josh also explores where e-waste accumulates and who it affects. He has a keen interest in “how maintenance and repair might offer lessons for figuring out how to live well together in permanently polluted and always breaking worlds.”

One of the most shocking things I learned from Josh is that modern electronics manufacturers have had a long-term strategy to make their industry seem less polluting than the industries that came before. The cloud is not an accidental term. It has a long lineage in actions taken by the technology industry to minimize the impression that it is indeed a dirty industry, perhaps the dirtiest of all.

Making the physical of digital invisible was “Quite literally designed into the landscapes of the place that is now called Silicon Valley, deliberately designed in, a primary consideration by the designers of those manufacturing landscapes to create something that would quite literally look like a ‘clean’ industry and be different from what industry had meant up to that point,” Josh explains.

Related Article: The Invisible, Immaterial Internet Is Not What What It Seems

Hiding the Industrial Infrastructure

“A lot of that design was about deliberately placing industrial infrastructure out of sight. Literally putting it underground. Things like chemical storage tanks needed to store the chemicals for the manufacturing process. So, it was a deliberate urban design process, and I think it has been with us since at least the 1950s. Why does it all matter? One of the ways that it matters is that it is very useful for the marketing and the industrial interests out of which digital technologies emerge, that they can trade on these images of being light, green.”



Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Logo
Reset Password
Shopping cart