How to manage my digital existence?

Tags: IT, Events

Notes from our meeting with Julien Da, IT specialist - Tri Phung (Jan. 2020).

The small session with Julien made me reflect on my actions for disposing electronic products. I threw away indiscriminately two broken rice cookers since I came to Finland. On one hand, I could have left the rice cookers outdoor, hoping that eventually someone would pick them up and properly recycle, otherwise they would end up in a mixed-waste trash bin. On the other hand, I should have looked up for a legitimate e-waste drop-off point in Tampere and made my effort to dispose there. Human naturally goes with the path of least resistance, and because I am a human, I chose the easiest way to dispose.

Julian also sparked my curiosity in Apple. Days ago, I read Julian’s slides, looked up Apple’s 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report, and watched a video ‘The hidden cost of Apple’ from a YouTube channel Our Changing Climate. What I discovered is that Apple has been making commitments towards reducing environmental impact. For example, Apple facilities (corporates, data centers, and retail stores) are run fully with renewable energy, or Apple is dedicated to an automated robot Daisy to retrieve material from disposed iPhone device (even though only 27% of material are recovered). Apple should be condemned for numerous actions, schemes, and policy, but I think it deserves some recognition.

Finally, I want to talk about my personal choices of search engines: Google and Ecosia. Firstly, I want to mention this fact: Ecosia uses Bing by Microsoft, whose data centers are powered 44% by renewable energy, meanwhile for Google are powered at 100% (numbers are obtained from the video ‘Is Ecosia legit?’ by Our Changing Climate). But with Microsoft’s undertake to cut down 75 percent of carbon emissions against 2013 baseline by 2030 (Smith 2017) and along with the carbon sink effect of newly grown trees, the climate impacts of Google and Ecosia are equally competitive. Secondly, I appreciate Ecosia ethics to plant trees when users use it to browse the web (it is a long but legitimate process!), but I still prefer Google because of its powerful and quick search engine. Therefore, my solution is using both. When I need quick results for my works, I am using Google, but when I casually browse the Net I choose Ecosia. That is how I balance ego and eco.

Our Changing Climate. 2019. Is Ecosia legit? YouTube video. Access on 23.01.2019.
Our Changing Climate. 2019. The hidden cost of Apple. Access on 23.01.2019.
Apple. 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report.
Smith, B. 2017. Microsoft pledges to cut carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030.