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Media, Materiality and the Environment: Exploring the Ethics and Sustainability of Hardware

Presentation for MeCCSA 'Mediating Environmental Change: Exploring the Way Forward' symposium at Bournemouth University.

Sy Taffel

on 6 February 2012

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Transcript of Media, Materiality and the Environment: Exploring the Ethics and Sustainability of Hardware

Media, Materiality and the Environment:
Exploring the Ethics and Sustainability of Hardware Ecological Cycles Industrial Cycle
Design Extraction and Processing Usage Manufacture Recycling Disposal Materials Lead Mercury Chromium Lanthanides Gold
Copper Rare Earth Elements Tantalum Geopolitical Concerns Tailings: contain toxic and radioactive
material which can destroy local crops and environments Coltan Conflict in DRC According to a study undertaken by the United Nations University,
producing a desktop computer and 17inch CRT monitor uses:
240kg of fossil fuels, 22kg of various chemicals and 1500kg of water. 81% of the energy used by a computer
during it's entire life cycle is used in producing it
only 19% is consumed during operation In 2007 Gartner Inc, an information technology research and analysis group
estimated that the global information and communications technology industry
was responsible for around 2% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions In a report for the EU, IVF (2007) estimated that computers in residential homes consumed 24TWh of electricity, or 3% of the electricity used in the residential sector within the EU Koomey (2007) estimates that in 2005 servers alone were responsible for 0.8% of global electricity usage, requiring 120 billion KW/h annually, a 100% increase from 2000 Modern mass production is increasingly concentrated in a small number of high-tech regions in low cost countries (China, Malaysia, Mexico and Hungary in particular), where highly integrated plants with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology are employing thousands of workers. In the industrialised countries, the large-scale shift of manufacturing resources creates the impression that high-tech is becoming a 'postindustrial' service industry based on networks of specialised, fabless and science-based companies. A global perspective however, reveals that the specialisation at the top of global production systems is matched by an an increasing vertical integration at the bottom (ie in mass-manufacturing plants in low-cost regions).
Luthje 2006:29 Labour Rights Globalisation
Outsourced Production Environmental Justice Planned and Perceived Obsolescence Short Life Span Upgrade Culture Profit Motive E-Waste Sy Taffel
University of Bristol Media & Materiality McLuhan Guattari Latour Media as the
extensions of Man Pace and Scale
that technology brings to
human societies Actor Network Theory nonhuman
agency Three Ecologies Mind Society Environment Media Ecology as the study of flows of energy and matter in media systems of differing scale Cradle to Cradle Open Source Hardware True solutions to our toxics crisis lie not in recycling wastes downstream, rather in eliminating them through 'green design' upstream.' Puckett 2006:226 Worldwide, about fifty million tons of electronic waste alone is generated per year... Waste is considered “hazardous” if it contains corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients. Hazardous waste includes computers, batteries, cell phones, and other products that contain toxic chemicals. It usually goes by ship, and isn’t labeled as waste because it’s largely illegal to ship hazardous waste. Instead, corporations and waste management middlemen will falsely label containers, sometimes even as “charitable goods.”
Kostigen 2008 Coffee... Clothing... Computers??? Slave/Child Labour Destruction of National Parks and
Endangered Species such As Grauer's Gorrila 5.4 million deaths Arsenic Cadmium Benzene Brominated Flame Retardants Acetone Hydrchloric Acid Sapphire RoHS
Full transcript