Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

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    Michael is a trainer and consultant specializing in making mobility technology work in people's everyday lives.
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Borrowing from our children and our future…

Posted by Michael Brown on January 3, 2007

I live in Ottawa, Canada, and normally on a day like today, we would consider a balmy day in January to be about -15 Celsius. As I’m writing this, it’s a really balmy +6 degrees out. It’s like the Great White North has been exported south this year, and I actually saw some geese flying back here this morning. And we all play a part in this…

The sheer number of people who are on earth only accounts for a small percentage of global warming; what really accounts for it is industrialization and large industrial processes. So, most people figure that there’s nothing I can do, it’s all these big operations that are causing the problems. That’s where you’re wrong; there’s a lot everyone can do. And it’s really the little things that can add up to a big difference.

In our house, we’ve swapped out almost all the standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, which will pay for themselves in energy savings within the first year. The standard bulbs we’ve left in are all on dimmers, so they never run at full power. I re-built my server and desktop computer this past year, and they’re more energy efficient than the older products they replaced, while being more powerful, and the parts used meets the RoHS directive for restricting hazardous substances. I also avoid printing things if I don’t have to; instead I rely on print preview or carrying the information around on my Treo. I’m also starting to eliminate paper bills, and relying on electronic statements and PDF printing wherever possible. And those are just some of the technological steps we’re taking (after all, this is a tech blog!). We also recycle whatever is recyclable.

In today’s consumer driven environment, we CAN vote our conscience with our wallet. Buy products that are energy efficient or eco-friendly, even if it means spending a little more. If enough people do that, they’ll all become energy efficient or eco-friendly, and cheaper, in order to compete. Use print preview instead of printing something to “check out how it looks”. Look for other ways you can make a difference; a whole lot of little bits can make a huge difference, especially when you multiply it by hundreds, thousands, or millions of people.

There’s an old Indian proverb about the earth; “We don’t inherit it from our grandparents. We borrow it from our children.” Let’s not leave it a mess for them.

6 Responses to “Borrowing from our children and our future…”

  1. May C said

    Just consider yourself lucky and enjoy your balmy weather. Over on the west coast, Vancouver and areas have been plagued with nasty wind storms that topple trees. Where I am in Prince George, up north in BC, we’ve been getting our wind gusts (I can’t remember the last time we got so much wind so often than this past year and currently).

    Although I do agree with you on being eco-friendly, the problem is that as a collective group in North America at least, we’d need to convince our neighbors to the south to be eco-friendly. That also reminds me of the recent change in global awareness of our current Conservative government and I hope that they don’t abandon it. I think that the government of all countries should start putting more pressure on the industries that pollute the air and evironment rather than pushing it on the consumer level. Just consider how much more pollution we see is mostly done by the industry than consumers. One dump truck will put out more black smoke from its exhaust than even a horrible old car. I’m not saying that it’s okay, but there should be more emphasis on the industry than they have previously done. You can’t put a price on a clean up after a disaster destroyed the habitat. Monetary punishment obviously isn’t much of a deterrant as most big corporations can afford to pay. There’s got to be a better way.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi May!

    Ah, a familiar name from Palm mailing lists 😉 I’m also hoping the new government does more with regard to the environment; I was less than impressed with the “we can’t make the Kyoto targets, so we’re not going to try” attitude that was being displayed. I totally agree with you on all the points you raised; I merely was limiting my scope to “tech related” stuff since this is a tech blog. There are others who are covering some of those points in much more detail (and with greater expertise) than myself.

    The real point is, if everyone does a little something (or several little somethings) then it will add up to a big difference. Where we as a society need to improve is on our awareness of these environmental issues, and what steps we can take to make changes that will leave the earth a better place for our children. I’ll be posting other “eco-friendly tech tips” in future blogs.

    Thanks for your comments, May.

  3. May C said

    Thanks! I wasn’t aware that the little Palm Discovery is known amongst the community. I’m always shocked and surprised when I find out that developers and members of the Palm community are aware of the blog. I was so blown off by that embarassment at the recent Kyoto summit and how the government could have done what they did.

    I do agree about doing our part in being more environmentally conscious in our daily life. I try to recycle things at home and only wished that more municipalities will recycle more items. Where I am, it’s quite minimal and limited to mixed paper, cardboard, newspapers and milk jugs and tin cans, and of course bottles and aluminum cans. I know that in Vancouver that there’s a much wider array of plastics that can be recycled with their blue box.

    I’m not sure if the current government seems to want to address this especially from what I’ve seen so far. But then, I must keep reminding myself that this is really the old Reform party re-named and somewhat re-shaped as the Conservative government. It’s certainly not the old Progressive Conservatives of yesteryear even though there are some from the old party. Ah, politics. That’s another story.

    Looking forward to more great posts from you! Thanks!

  4. Anna(15) said

    well.hello!excuse me for my English.i am from Ukraine.Kyiv,& study English not for a long time.I am writing the work on my homework on English.The theme is:We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers.We are both borrowing it from our Children.& when i was looking up the info on this theme i”ve found this site and saw your discussion.usually i don”t write comments as i do now,but environment-very important thing as for me/nowadays situation makes me feel very nervous about our planet & future.But how should we -ukr ceep our country cleen.if we even don’t have any eco-friendly products???

  5. Hi Anna!

    I’m not sure what’s available in the Ukraine, but here in Canada we’re starting to get more eco-friendly products. Our local grocery store has a lot of natural products, and the selection keeps on improving. In our house, we’ve switched to natural detergents and soaps, cleaning products and some personal-care products. As more people demand natural and eco-friendly products, more and more manufacturers will start making them available. More and more electronics are becoming ROHS compliant even here in Canada, where it’s not required.

    My best advice to you is to look around and see what’s available to you. Health food stores are usually a good place to find all sorts of natural products. If you don’t find much, then hey, it could be a good business opportunity for you!

    Good luck with your quest. All our children will be better off for it.


  6. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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