The Things We Carry

Every time you buy a new electronic device, you add to global warming. And you don't even have to take it out of the box. Find out what's inside the digital things you carry.

Will We Have a Green Presidency in 2016?

The Earth doesn't care about media theory, but environmentalists should. Media make presidents, and it looks like their choice will once again be the anti-environment candidate.

The Green Effect of Hollywood’s Diversity Problem

Hollywood's diversity problem is making headlines this awards season. Tinseltown's whiteout isn't telling us everything we need to know about race in America.

The United States Is Not So Religious

Are we really a religious nation? History suggests a different story from the one you've probably been told. And what role does religion play in debates about the environment?

World Leaders Decide How Hot the Planet Will Be

Carbon at 400 ppm. Global warming nonstop. Floods, droughts, rising seas, melting glaciers. And world leaders deciding how much risk the planet and all its inhabitants will endure.

At Home Or At School, If It’s Garbage In, It’s Garbage Out

Are Americans wasteful compared to other people? Can smartphones make us more aware of our environmental impact and help educate us about science in general? The research may surprise you.

Nobody’s Business: Data Barons and Digital Sneaks

Can't get enough of Facebook, Google, and other platforms of digital culture? Well, they can't get enough of you either. Every time you click "Like" or the "I Agree" button or search for long lost friends, you're giving away a bit of yourself.

Who Invented Your Phone?

Gossipers and journalists alike greeted rumors then announcements this month about the latest variations-on-a-theme from Apple telephony with breathless excitement. A new weight was required when pressing on part of the phone! Astonishing! Hold the presses! Why are we so fascinated by these tiny 'improvements?' And who makes these changes?

When Solidarity Guides Consumption

What happens when informed consumers begin to care as much about the people who make their gadgets as they do about price and performance? Find out why the big brands like Apple don't want you to know. Solidarity is going to get them!

Taking Egoism Out of Consumerism

In a two part series, we invite readers to find the egoism in their consumerism and push it aside to make room for solidarity and a new kind of consumer society rooted in sustainability--of healthy conditions in the world's workplaces, fun spaces, and ecosystems. In this column we look at how inward-looking consumerism offers no way out of our stress filled digital lives.

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— 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.