Reducing your carbon footprint, geek style

Care of Planet Ubuntu-UK, I’ve just read Michael Wood‘s post about Bringing down your carbon footprint.

Leaving aside the “joke” one of our cats is called Carbon and I like his footprints, I thought the green-geek angle was interesting and have a few things to add to Michael’s suggestions. None of mine are particularly rocket science but as with the philosophy behind Recycle This, what is blindingly obvious common sense to one person is a revelation to another.

  1. Recycle computers and old computer equipment when you’re done with it. People like us of the geeky persuasion are usually upgrade well before the end of a computer/gadget’s lifespan but other people aren’t so insistent on everything loading instantly or having the latest graphics card/wobbly windows.

    If you don’t know anyone to pass it onto directly, find a company to do it for you – our local one in West Yorkshire is Airedale Computers in Castleford and last time we went, they took everything we had to offer from full PCs to random cables, cards and spare keyboards.

  2. Linked to that, computers that aren’t fast enough to run Vista will probably be still able to run Linux so forgetting all that hippy freedom nonsense, encourage people to make the switch for that reason.

    John switched his mum and dad onto Ubuntu last year because he was sick of having to fix their old, knackered Windows box. Their computer is running a lot faster now and since they only use it for basic things like web browsing, IM and word processing, they’ve not really had any problems. The only snag they’ve had is easy (without any help from us) photo printing – but photo management on their computer is a lot easier now.

  3. Where feasible, download software rather than sending for a CD. This is obviously pretty easy for FOSS users but I know people that have sent away for Ubuntu CDs for their one install and left them on the shelf since then.

  4. And related to that, use reusable media for storage where possible – USB keys over CDs etc etc. And as an extension of that, go for quality and a size that’ll last rather than replacing cheap stuff frequently.

  5. But if you’ve had to use a CD or if you’ve got some absolutely dead computer equipment, there’ll still be ways to reuse them if you think creatively enough. We’ve got a Technology category on Recycle This which includes loads of cool suggestions for bits of computer and AV tech. I’d like to do more posts on that sort of thing so if you’ve got any suggestions, please let me know :)

One of my main green issues is the amount of always-on computers we have in the house. In addition to the laptops John and I use throughout the day, we usually have a server (mail, internet gateway, media) and an second back-up server (for daily back-ups of the main one) running. I suspect the latter could be turned off more but the former is pretty much needed all the time (to maintain our IP etc). Perhaps we should hook up a pedal powered generator

1 Comment

  1. louisa

    8/6/2007 at 5:03 pm

    (Ok, I’ve just realised my suggestions are less about reducing your carbon footprint and more just reducing waste. But you know, whatever – it still kinda reduces your overall footprint on the world and they’re good green tips, even if I do say so myself :) .)

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