Worldchanging ally David Pescovitz has a great piece in his Lab Notes newsletter about Arpad Horvath's work weighing the environmental benefits of websurfing and teleconferenceing vs. reading print newspapers and attending meetings.
In a new study, UC Berkeley researchers report that receiving your news wirelessly on a PDA instead of delivered to your door requires up to 140 times less carbon dioxide, several orders of magnitude less greenhouse gases, and the consumption of 26 to 67 times less water.
"I'm interested in the environmental effects of infrastructure, but not just roads, bridges, and transportation systems," says civil and environmental engineering professor Arpad Horvath. "In the last 10 years, the Internet has become a very important part of our societal infrastructure. But we haven't come to terms with what that means for environmental impact."
Of course, the manufacture of that PDA itself leaves a wake of extremely toxic chemical behind (which is why we need green computers). But still, 140 times less CO2!
But doesn't this presume that getting your news on a PDA is an effective substitute for reading the newspaper?
Or that a teleconfernece is a substitute for face-to-face?
As you might suspect, I disagree. There is still a role for print in a digital world, and still a role for "F2F" communication.