Change and Sustainability

I’ve been deeply involved with Green IT this week. The climate statistics and how they’re changing reminded me of some wise counsel I was given by my dear friend Ivan Goldberg (  Change is inevitable, be an enthusiastic early adopter.

  • In a typical office environment the IT Infrastructure will account for around 40% of the total energy consumption (carbon footprint) – the remaining 60% being (mainly) heat & light.
  • Cities and towns cover 2% of the surface of the planet, 50% of the world population live there, they use 75% of all the energy produced and in turn, they produce 80% of all emissions.
  •  Of a total world population of 7 billion, 5 billion have mobile (cell) phones and there are more than 7 billion in use.

These statistics demonstrate the dramatic changes that have taken place on this planet over the past thirty or so years. In fact the change-rate is exponential! One of the most compelling effects of this rate of change has been the compression of time.

For example, we now expect a response to our communications, probably through text or email, in hours and preferably minutes, whereas even fifteen years ago, we had to wait for a snail mail response which could have taken days if not weeks.

Everything is urgent! We are continually distracted by that ping which tells us that another text message or email has arrived demanding that we read it and reply instantly.

The next ten years may see the demise of email as the use of instant messaging and other forms of less formal communication take over. How long will instant messaging last before something else arrives out of left field to improve our lives?

None of this is right or wrong, good or bad.  It is simply the reality of the way in which our lives have been changed and it is up to us to determine if it is for the better.

Change is inevitable. Like it or not, change will happen around us and by definition affect the way we live and work.  By far the best way is to embrace these exciting changes and use them for the benefit of our organisation and for ourselves.

The pace of change and the ever increasing demand for technology driven solutions has a huge environmental cost. From 2012, the global carbon footprint of IT activity will exceed that of the airline industry!  A typical administrative centre packs an annual IT energy bill of over £200,000. This too must change!

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