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Green Computing’s Origin, Issues, Future Trends Essay

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2020

Introduction

Green computing entails the use of computers, computing accessories, the e-waste, and other related facilities in eco-friendly or ecologically safe modes (Shinde, Nalawade, and Nalawade 1). Green computing also covers the responsible handling of energy-resourceful central processing units, server systems, peripherals, computer interfaces including proper disposal of the e-waste. More broadly, Kochhar and Arun (3) note that green computing involves the art and science of studying or designing computers in an eco-friendly manner while making their end uses to have the least-environmental impact. Green computing further champions information technologists and ordinary computer related dealers to invest continuously in designing, producing, and dealing in computer devices and accessories that do not defile the environment (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1282). Computational accessories such as monitors, storage devices, printers, and networking and communications systems are part of this process.

Therefore, green computing seeks the efficient and effective application of these accessories to have the least or no impact on the environment. Moreover, green computing encourages designing and dealing in energy efficient computer devices, endeavoring to encourage the recyclability and disposing of computer accessories, servers systems, and associated subsystems in an environmentally friendly manner (Shinde, Nalawade, and Nalawade 5). Precisely, green computing is the art and science of ICT sustainability program that seeks to secure the beauty of nature. The objectives of the green computing revolution are very analogous to green chemistry. In its endeavors, green computing just like green chemistry aims to reduce or negate the use of hazardous gadgets, promote the biodegradability of e-waste as well as minimizing their energy consumption (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1283). Proponents of green computing continue to champion different corporate IT production firms and dealers to put in place green computing initiatives aimed at reducing the ecological impacts of their products.

Origins of Green Computing

The practices culminating in green computing devices came at the beginning of 1992. The luncheon of the Energy Star by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instigated a revolution that champions the production and use of information technology in a way that is not injurious to its uses and the environment (Kochhar and Arun 5). The 1992 launch of an obstinate green revolution continues to inspire firms in the computer industry to realize that going green is the only alternative for sustainability. Companies in the computing world, according to Shinde, Nalawade, and Nalawade (7), realize the efficacy of going green for its benefits of cultivating effective public relations. Over the years, the revolution of green computing has resulted in reduced costs of production and unwavering consistency in environmental consciousness.

The 1992 US Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star has seen a voluntary program that designed to promote, recognize, and reward energy-efficiency in computational programs (Shinde, Nalawade, and Nalawade 8). Essentially, the green revolution sought to mitigate climate change through controlling computer equipment and other technologies of such magnitude. The increasing concerns of climate were attributed to many things including the upsurge of information technology at the turn of 1990s. Given the enormous production of computational gadgets, the Environmental Protection Agency found it fit to champion IT firms, as well as vendors to use the ideals of eco-friendly practices (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1287). In addition, the green revolution aimed at designing, manufacturing, and disposing computing devices to reduce their increased concern to environmental change.

Current Issues of Green Computing

Recycling is the basis of green computing. After the end use of computational products, they become obsolete hence their responsible disposal. Recycling in its simplicity is the process of making new products from those that had initially served their purpose. If such used computational wastes are disposed of in a suitable, environmentally responsive manner, then the program of recycling is effective (Being wise with waste: The EU’s approach to waste management 2). These computational wastes may both be useful and dangerous depending on the scope of use and disposal. Under green computing, they can be reused in the manufacture of new products, though certain components may contain hazardous materials that can pose numerous threats to the environment and public health if not disposed of properly (Recycling: Why it’s Important and How to Do It 2).

Used materials such as electronic gadget components, plastics, aluminum, and polythene constitute the bulk of products that have inspired recycling programs for most computational accessories. However, many of these waste products can be renovated, recycled, or reprocessed in an environmentally sound manner so that they become less harmful to the ecosystem. Most electronic gadgets contain some of the known, yet dangerous toxins such as lead, beryllium, brominates flame-retardants as well as cadmium. The good news is that most of these industrial wastes, though harmful, may be properly recycled and make the environment safe for humanity, plants, and animals. Industrial waste recycling programs has been in many ways economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially desirable especially for the countries that take this noble revolution seriously.

However, to do so, the authorities in most countries recognize the need to engage the citizenry in environmentally friendly practices. On the other hand, to stump out global habitat loss that continues to cause climate change, governments in all parts of the world must launch robust environmental campaigns and initiate programs in support of this formalization (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1285). Besides, the international donors and the multinational corporations that prospect minerals in other countries must step in with programs that foster industrial waste management, practices that stimulate cleaner environment, and activities that inspire recycling of these waste computational products.

Concerns for Green Computing

Taking into account increasing air temperatures, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, receding ice caps, and cases of extreme weather patterns across the world, it is prudent to take a close and objective look at the global climatic changes. Institutions, individuals, and governments continue to develop hypotheses to explain these changes with scientifically proven analysis of the situation directing these consequences to state of changing climatic conditions. Increased quantities of greenhouse gas-emission, deforestation, and unsustainable land use patterns take credit for changing global climatic conditions (Gore 75). Many anti-environmentalism crusaders believe in existence of a scientific gap in explaining the claims about climatic changes and global warming. However, core scientific evidences and characteristics of current state of environment explain the reality of global warming.

Rising Sea and Ocean Levels

In the better part of the twentieth century, sea level rise rate stood at 1.7mm per year. However, towards the end, statistics showed the rate to stand at 3.2mm per annum. These observations represent a show in changing climatic structures owing to humanity’s inept to going green (Gore 85). Therefore, it is important to note that these two drivers occur due to increase in temperatures caused by enormous energy consumptions. When global temperature rises, ocean water heats up and expands. Similarly, rising global temperatures heat up glaciers and ice caps that occupy land. This results in flowing of glaciers into seawater, leading to increased volumes of ocean water.

Melting Glaciers and Ice Caps

Statistics show that the arctic sea has lost more than forty per cent of its thickness since 1960. This phenomenon is due owing to the emission of e-waste materials into the water bodies. Different scholars continue to develop green computing consciousness to curb this phenomenon. Moreover, increasing global temperatures, excessive use of carbon related fuels, and climate change remain basic drivers for going green (Kirby 122). Around the Himalayas mountains in Bhutan, glacial receding rates take place at an alarming rate with several satellite photos showing lakes forming near the termini of many glaciers. All these act as evidences on rate at which global warming occurs gradually, yet rapidly.

Ozone Layer Depletion

Since the onset of industrial revolution, many countries continue to use fossil fuels as the main source of energy. For instance, petroleum products used in driving engines and generating electricity form the basis of greenhouse gas emission contribute largely to the degradation of the environment (Kirby 145). This coupled with improper disposal of e-waste and plastic materials, ozone depletion are enormous leading to concentration of heat within the atmosphere. Increased heat levels within the atmosphere causes global warming.

Habitat Lose

Global warming effects are dependent and cyclic in nature. Greenhouse effect leads to concentration of heat in the atmosphere. This consequently causes melting of ice caps. Melting of ice presents a recipe for habitat loss, especially in downstream drainage basins. As a result, absence of glaciers alters late summer stream flows and temperatures. Such as situation compromises breeding characteristics of the downstream fish species, leading to loss of biodiversity (Gore 115). Likewise, increasing downstream flows result in extreme natural calamities, such as floods during rainy seasons in some areas.

Antagonists’ Point of View

Even though the struggle against climate change and global warming receives great support from different quarters of the world, several anti-environmentalists group continue to fight this noble course (Gore 175). For example, most people from this school of thought argue that reduction of carbon emission presents huge and strenuous budgets. This coupled with political, economic, legislative, and policy inequalities across the world has led to failure of intergovernmental panel on climate change to develop a comprehensive report on greenhouse emission act as the only advantage for this group of persons in fighting global warming.

Features that Suggest that Green Computing Can Help in Achieving Organizational Objectives

The objectives of organizations can effectively be met when numerous logistical functions have been accredited for their market visibility. Often, the focus shifts to the 1992 Energy Star commitment by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Green supply strategy, which focuses on environmental conservation, is directed toward achieving organizational objectives (Shinde, Nalawade, and Nalawade 16). In an attempt to expand its supply chain, companies dealing in IT normally subscribe to three major objectives, which include dealing in exclusively renewable energy, a zero tolerance strategy on industrial waste, and dealing in goods that do not conflict with the EPA’s principles while giving environmental friendly habits a big edge. While most observers note that numerous strategies aimed at strengthening the IT firms’ commitment to green computing have not been successful, there is room to believe that organizations are doing all within their capacities to yield better results.

Case Example

In 2006, for example, Wal-Mart Company instituted a paradigm shift of going green, making it reach out to the HP and Oracle companies in an effort to broaden its supply chain. Currently, Wal-Mart’s sustainability program that emphasizes on the green network structure – dubbed the green logistics technologies and other futuristic initiatives – are considered among the contributory factors to its widening supply chain (Walmart 2013 Global Responsibility Report 5). The Wal-Mart’s business approach of going green is a market strategy that is seen by observers as a decision that will positively impact on the company’s growth infrastructure. Given its inclination to green computing, the company has expanded its distribution scope, both the regional and global fronts, thus galvanizing its corporate identity within green computing. The company’s vast knowledge and the adoption of distribution systems is an impressive identity factor, while strategically championing for an eco-friendly business model. Notably, these facets are some of the managerial foresights that are expected to push its competitive agenda in the years to come.

With the increased customer focus, companies are intensifying their competitive advantage and the ever-changing customer choices have forced most companies to approach the supply management within the lenses of green revolution. Customers too in the supply chain have also shown their willingness to accommodate only the products of those companies that are committed to user and environmentally friendly gadgets. With great advancements in information technology, research indicates that many companies that deal in user-friendly products compete well in the market (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1288). Embracing the EAP standards by most IT companies has further necessitated a high-tech networking stratagem that ensures suppliers are kept within the EAP’s standards, thus negating the risks of hazardous products joining the IT mainstream market. To comply with the rising demands in the technological market environment, Wal-Mart ended up setting up its communication satellite – a system that enabled the suppliers to deliver their goods to the company with preferential ease, thereby lessening the time lost in the many logistics that normally characterize the supply chain.

Referring to the Wal-Mart sustainability report of 1999, Lee Scott was reported to have said that sustainability of the Wal-Mart programs are matters that are isolated and discrete from other underlying factors inside and outside the company’s business structure. Scott was quoted to have insinuated that corporate social responsibility was lacking in their marketing model, and that there was great need to emphasize on these scales (Walmart 2013 Global Responsibility Report 8). Innovation, he reaffirmed was the sole prerogative for the company’s sustainability program. Thus, innovation is an empowering element attributable to the progress of most firms dealing in IT.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Outlining standards for ethical and socially responsive business environment often starts with the code of ethics for any serious and self-respecting business organization. According to Amato and Henderson (252), businesses normally come up with set code of ethics to guide their activities within the business community in which they operate. It is expected that each business organization outline these codes within its priority list. Code of ethics thrives in two broad categories in any business establishment: compliance-based and integrity-based codes of ethics. Compliance-based codes of ethics center on preventing lawless behavior by instituting relevant punishment for those who encroach upon the code while increasing control and monitoring of the specific ethical offenders (Amato and Henderson 129). On the other hand, integrity-based codes of ethics can be instituted to encourage ethical behavior within the business environment, and this is normally achieved by defining the business’ mission and values to all the stakeholders (Vishram, Sarwani, and Tuveera 1285). Overall, creating an environment that augments ethical behavior and gives a lifeline to shared accountability will always engage the business community in socially and ethically responsive activities.

Future Trends in Green Computing

Taking into consideration the growing problems that computational product poses to the environment, the IT firms and dealers in computer accessories will have to step up greater compliance with green computing. To make computational products less hazardous, the chemicals used have to be biodegradable to make recycling necessary, thereby reducing exposure risks (Being wise with waste: The EU’s approach to waste management 3). Moreover, these endeavors will make recycling of industrial wastes to be a lesser concern for the environmentalists in future. Apart from merely making the environment safe, Recycling: Why it’s Important and How to Do It (8) offers that recycling will have the ability to reduce the exploitative nature of searching for raw materials like metals, oils, and plastics whose extraction and processing naturally destroys the earths’ crust and forest cover. According to Being wise with waste: The EU’s approach to waste management (5), the level of our domestic consumption already has a significant effect on the environment, and, currently, we are consuming a growing mass of raw materials locally.

In the future, firms in this field will have to realize that extracting virgin materials from the natural environment is a great contributor to global habitat loss, and will have to embark on a series of recycling programs to redeem the natural environments. For instance, demand for copper, lead, rubber, or cardboard continue to pose a great threat to the indigenous woodlands in many parts of the world (Recycling: Why it’s Important and How to Do It 3). In these countries, the authorities continue to inspire industries to refine and process used materials to create new products. Extracting raw materials from their natural core such as ore mining require vast amounts of energy that uses chemicals and massive machinery to extract. Green computing intends to negate these concerns. The revolution seeks to negate the machineries and chemicals used during the excavation of raw materials to reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, thus putting a check on climate change among other concerns.

Conclusion

Essentially, green computing seeks to secure sustainability in the concept of technology and industrial production. In the world over, business organizations are expected to be responsible by primarily outlining their code of ethics in line with green revolution. By doing this, organizations are likely to improve their performance with guaranteed service delivery and reduced level of environmental degradation and user risks. With green computing in force, companies will always seek to be responsible in order to meet the set values, norms, and standards that the larger community cherishes. By making green computing a priority in the production and disposal of electronic products, the IT firms, business enterprises, and organizations will always capture a wider market niche while making the environment safer.

Works Cited

Amato, Alessia, and Sybil Henderson. Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business A Guide to their Leadership Tasks and Functions. Greensboro: CCL, 2009. Print.

Being wise with waste: The EU’s approach to waste management. 2010. Web.

Gore, Albert. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. New York: Rodale Press, 2006. Print.

Kirby, Alex. Climate in Peril: A Popular Guide to the Latest IPCC Reports. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme, 2009. Print.

Kochhar, Navdeep and Garg Arun. “Eco-Friendly Computing: Green Computing.” International Journal of Computing and Business Research 2.2 (2011): 1-25. Print.

Recycling: Why it’s Important and How to Do It. 2013. Web.

Shinde, Sharmila, Simantini Nalawade, and Ajay Nalawade. “Green Computing: Go Green and Save Energy.” International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering 3.7 (2013): 1-19. Print.

Vishram, Lakshmi, Lalita Sarwani, and Nalini Tuveera. “A Study on Green Computing: The Future Computing and Eco-Friendly Technology.” International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications 2.4 (2012): 1282-1289. Print.

Walmart 2013 Global Responsibility Report. 2012. Web.

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