Pope Francis' Environmental Message

Pope Francis' encyclical on the ecological crisis strikes a blow to climate science deniers everywhere. He tells the truth about global warming and environmental decline using the combined powers of ecclesial authority, the scientific consensus, and a well-established communication network. Let's hope world leaders meeting in Paris in December follow his lead.

Worries about the Apple Watch and the Internet-of-Things

There’s a lot happening in the internet-of-things, most of it beyond the horizon of our thing-filled lifestyles. The Apple Watch is the latest and perhaps most telling thing of all. Should we worry about this dazzling distraction? What will its social impact be? What are the environmental and labor costs associated with this new digital fashion accessory?

Greenwashing the Earth

Ever felt a little weird when you check into a hotel room and been invited to save the planet along with its corporate owners by reusing your towels? The reason may be that you've just been greenwashed. What does that mean? And what does 'green' itself mean any more?

From Industrial Hell to Digital Paradise

Electronics factories can be hell to work in--toxic, soul-killing, and life-threatening. But without them there would be no digital paradise for high-tech companies and consumers. Though the technology has changed over the centuries, the basic relationship between worker hell and privileged paradise has remained unchanged. Take a look at 19th century papermaking...

Love the Environment; But Environmentalists?

We think we've worked out why so many Americans are skeptical about climate change. Is it about conservatism, media coverage, brainwaves, the antics of environmentalists, or science education? The answer lies across the complex terrain of public opinion and understanding.

Ones vs Zeros— Inequality Reflected in 2015 Digital Design

In the science fiction world of technology predictions, the wealthy one percenters always seem to get all the attention. While tech built for them is mostly beyond reach for the rest of us, these technologies possess tremendous symbolic power--smart homes, smart cars, and on-line services conjured like magic via "on-demand." Is resistance futile?

Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To … AT&T?

AT&T's size and success belie the fact that it is inefficient and does illegal things, including disposing of e-waste. We need to rethink how we deal with such corporate giants.

The Fantasies of Marshall McLuhan

It's the 50th anniversary of Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media, a book that made him a popular culture icon and helped launch "media ecology," the academic study that defines media as technology "ecosystems." But this has nothing to do with real ecosystems and nothing to say about technology's environmental impact. Find out why Greening the Media isn't celebrating.

A Consumer’s Question While Texting

No, it doesn't bend. The latest Apple fetish is just about as solid as the latest and greatest Samsung fetish and other comparable gadgets. The bend was good publicity, but the new iPhone 6 and controversies about its bendiness and operating system pale in comparison with Apple’s alleged tricks with taxation.

Hey Book Lovers: Stop Paying to Read Books

Readers, hackers, learners unite! September is "library card sign-up month." Get a card and start to enjoy all the free stuff at your local public library. Did we mention that it's free?!

Green Is Very White

The EPA says that "Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." Why then do minorities only occupy 12 to 16 percent of the jobs in US environmentalist organizations?

Don’t Be Fooled by the Abundance of Green Apps

Ever wonder how your mobile phone and tablet are contributing to climate change? You can download all sorts of apps that help you lead a greener life, but none will tell you about your mobile device's environmental impact. This is one case where there's no app for that. And it's probably the one app that would help us meet the biggest challenge of the climate crisis.

The Problems and Possibilities of Social Media

The term “social media” is applied to networked computers that link people across digital devices. We’re told that the dots (users) connect so effectively that real-life, human media—public libraries, bars, schools, post offices, parks, and coffee shops—have diminished in stature, their origins as facilitators of democracy forgotten. The story is much more complicated.

Showdown at Alamogordo: E.T. vs. E-waste

Alamogordo is on the map again; this time for an explosive pop culture event. Forty miles from the site of the first atom bomb explosion, excavators tore up a landfill to retrieve artifacts from the last days of the videogame giant, Atari. What they found was a treasure trove of geek fetish items. What they didn't tell us was the truth about all this rubbish.

Web Turns 25—Amazon.com Turns Nasty

Some major internet companies are trying to green the web. But others use dirty power so that we pollute the Earth each time we watch Netflix or use Tumblr. We need legislation and regulation to stop the rot.

The Myth of Green Shareholder Activism

Have you heard the one about the corporate gadfly who forced behemoth corporations to give a portion of their profits to workers in the far-flung factories where their marvelous products are made? You haven't? Well, you're not alone, because it never happened. Read more to find out why it probably never will.

Two Takes on Well-Being: One Confused, One Out of Its Mind

How are well-being and the environment linked, and what part does cloud computing play in each? The OECD and American Express have both issued reports recently that address these questions. But how credible, how realistic is their shared vision of economic growth and environmental sustainability. We must think about these issues as citizens and workers as well as consumers

The Hype of High-Tech Predictions for 2014

We’ve all heard that the future heralds improvements in big data and small devices that will create revolutionary social change. Accepting such claims requires us to forget about the technology’s environmental and human costs and the force of its marketing.

Bitcoin—Libertarian Dream or Environmental Hazard?

Bitcoins, the new virtual currency, are all the rage. Each one is worth over a thousand dollars. But what are they? And what is their environmental impact?

Do Cellphones Weaken Our Ability to Fight Disease?

Questions about media’s effect on our brains usually aim at understanding cognitive, behavioral, or affective processes; rarely do they examine the physical environmental impact of media on our brains and neurological systems. Our brains have evolved within a natural electromagnetic environment that is being altered in profound ways by our electronic wonders.

The Waste of Art and the Art of Waste

What part are we playing in climate change when we use digital media? How can art make us rethink this?

Don’t Be Misled about Paper Versus Electronic Books

We've all wondered whether to make the switch from paper to e-readers. Once we have, we want to reassure ourselves we did the right thing for the environment, for ourselves, and for the future. What is easy to forget is that we already had a viable model for reading that was environmentally sound, universally accessible, and widely popular. Find out what it is here...

3-D Printing: Manufacturing Panacea or Infernal Contraption?

3-D printing is all the rage. But as with any new technology, proponents don't want you to think about the risks. Could there be more to these little mobile factories than what the promoters tell us? Do you really want to have one these in your office or home? Read on...

Mobile Addiction Hastens Environmental and Health Risks

Mobile phones might allow us to stay connected while on the move, but our high-tech mobility comes at a cost to our health, safety and environment. Read on to find out what else the phone companies and electronics manufacturers don't want you to think about.

The End of Irrational Consumption and the E-Waste Problem

Crazy collectors pay dearly for useless technology. Sony's quixotic quest for electronic supremacy tilts at an imaginary killer app. Mysteries of a consumer's split personality revealed. Laws that reduce e-waste and the people who endorse them. Read on to find out about these and other intriguing tidbits from the folks who want to know who's Greening the Media.

The Problem with Earth Day

The kind of Earth Day we have is insufficient politically, and unsustainable culturally. 24 hours of worthy events mix with propaganda from scoundrels, leaving us to wake up the day after to business as usual. How might we challenge the problem of Earth Day?

How to Rally Liberals and Conservatives to Environmentalism

Using threats to bodily purity can persuade conservatives to care more about environmental issues. But can adding the the yuck factor to environmental arguments about care for the planet--a more liberal concern--really be the key to effective green persuasion? Tune in to see.

Should We Care About Celebrity Environmentalists?

Eco-celebrities’ participation in ecological matters is challenged by their record of jet-setting carbon emissions. They must cringe knowing they work in a business whose energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions are akin to those of the aerospace and semi-conductor industries.

Electronics Industry Discovers New Species of Media Consumer

Each year the electronics industry sends truckloads of new high tech gadgets to market with reams of expert pronouncements about the industry's future. Embedded in the hype is a vision of media consumers that resembles few on this planet, though it fits nicely into the fantasy of how the technology satisfies a need. We are square pegs to business's rounded idea of us.

Not Another Gloomy Blog about the Wasteful Holidays

Too often consumers are blamed for bad environmental behavior when the responsibility rightly belongs to the makers and distributors of electronic goods. Their strategy of planned obsolescence consciously designs limited lifespans into these products. Regulation known as "extended producer responsibility" gives consumers and the environment a better, healthier deal.

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