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CPSR Computers and Environment Work Group
Working Groups
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

CPSR Computers & Environment Work Group

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Target issues for activities in 2004 include:

  • Computer recycling and extending useful lifetimes. Confronting e-waste and disposal issues in hardware lifecycles.
  • Pollution in computer production, use, and disposal. Exploring the environmental impacts of current production, use, and disposal practices and materials.
  • Green design, production, consumption of computers. The state-of-the-art in making computers is becoming more sustainable in energy, materials, and social impacts and includes design for reuse, recycle, and less impact.
  • Responsible business and IT practices. Applying principles of social responsibility to IT companies.

In addition, the Group recognizes that our modern world could not exist without computers. Most technical achievements of the past 25 years are based on the computer, as will be those of the future. The acceleration of scientific achievement in the last few decades could not have taken place without the computer. During this time significant changes have begun to occur in our natural environment as well, as a result of technological development and social changes. Computing is tied to these changes as an agent of change, both positive and negative. The following statements provide an elaboration of the core mission expressed in the Mission Statement.

  • Computing technology is an important tool in environmental research, such as research into climate change, endangered species, and pollution.
  • Ecological models are often used to support policy and decision-making and it is important therefore that they be accurate and that the limits of their accuracy be obvious.
  • Improved efficiency in human activities is becoming increasingly important.Computers and other information and communications devices can conserve trees and other materials, reduce transportation needs and therefore lower fuel consumption, eliminate road building and other high-impact activities. In this way they are part of the solution to the environmental crisis.
  • The environment can also affect computers directly, positively and negatively (electromagnetic interference, high-energy pulse, solar flares, etc.) in ways of which we should be aware.
  • The manufacture, use, and disposal of computers generates significant waste, resource consumption, and pollution.
  • To the extent that computers can enhance avenues of communication, they can be used to make more people aware of environmental risks, and more effective in their efforts to protect the environment.
  • The working group can empower environmental organizations, particularly grassroots organizations with limited budgets, to get their message out via web sites, appropriate newsgroups and (only solicited of course) email.
See also: Group Home Page | Related Resources
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Created before October 2004

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