"Deafening silence", "economic forecast", "military intelligence" - these phrases are familiar oxymorons, a term for a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear together. You can find long lists of similar terms very quickly using your favourite search engine.
"Sustainable information technology" doesn't seem to appear in any of them - but I think that it should - at least for the time-being…
As the threat of climate change continues to loom large, all sectors are starting to examine their working models to determine how to reduce their impact on the environment, most specifically on those emissions that affect the atmosphere. It seems as if everything we humans do has a negative impact, whether it's energy generation, making things, growing food, moving stuff around. And of course, almost all of the things we do require information, and particularly information technology to make them work.
The systems that move information around the world use electronic components, which are often composed of scarce elements, and use many oil-derived parts, particularly plastics. To make things worse, these systems are also massive users of energy.
So how can information technology be sustainable? Is it possible? What are the challenges, where are the opportunities?
I’m going to use this blog to explore these issues further, and ideally, to figure out what businesses should do to influence their suppliers to create tools that are sustainable. So, while I think that sustainable information technology is an oxymoron today, my fervent hope is that this won’t be the case in the future.