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Digital technology and the environment: Challenges for green citizenship and environmental organizations

Maxwell, R. and Miller, T. (2017) Digital technology and the environment: Challenges for green citizenship and environmental organizations. In: Brevini, B. and Murdock, G., (eds.) Carbon Capitalism and Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-55.

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This chapter focuses on the environmental impact of media and information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the challenges that green citizens and environmental groups face in greening their use of ICTs. For most of us, media technologies hardly seem like the kind of human creation that could cause any significant environmental harm. Media certainly appear to be a clean industry, especially electronic and digital media. Books too seem to provide low wattage entertainment and enlightenment, while movies and TV shows emit no apparent exhaust. Smartphones glow with an aura of clean energy as they link us to networks that have come to epitomize the post-industrial era, a time far removed from the realities of smokestack capitalism. With this benign view of media technology, it’s no wonder that media scholars, commentators, and school curricula have virtually nothing to say about media technology’s impact on the environment. Our research project, begun over a decade ago, intends to disabuse media and communication experts of the idea that media, information and communication technologies are environmentally neutral. This chapter challenges green citizens and environmental organizations engaged in some form of activism, advocacy, or policy-oriented work to ‘green’ their use of ICTs.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2017
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