Let's treat IT with dignity

by Sharon Lobo    Aug 11, 2010

Has it ever occurred to you, that in our haste to rush home after work, how many of us have ignored to shutdown our computers? Or our unawareness of the ‘Set Print Area’ option in MS Excel has rendered the printer to churn out hundreds of pages with blank cells? Even worse, have we ever thought twice before tossing obsolete electronic gadgets in the garbage bin? In spite of this careless attitude we can still diligently speak on Green IT.

Green IT for us is just like any technology term turned fashion statement, like most people talk about Cloud computing at any opportunity they may get, yet they themselves might not completely understand it. It’s just that we want our regular conversations to include these terms so we are not treated as outcasts of technology.

Just to show our solidarity towards mother earth, we agree to switch of our lights for 1 hour on Earth Hour Day, but is this one act enough to justify the electricity we waste on the remaining 8759 hrs in a year or 8783 hrs in a leap year? For most organizations IT is the enabler, without it business processes can come to a standstill, yet most people have disregard for IT and most of the time it is inadvertently.

One reason, for us being so cavalier when it comes to IT is unaccountability. When was the last time you were pulled up for leaving your office computer on throughout the night or for just mindlessly firing printouts? Another reason for this carefree attitude of ours is because we don’t feel the pinch of having to pay for the toner and paper.

Even leaving your PC and monitor in the idle state consumes a good deal of electricity, which could be more than 100W. Most people in a bid to avoid after hours rush, decide to stay late in office. However to kill time they usually land up playing online games, or streaming videos. All this does not only consume electricity but wastes precious bandwidth that too in a country where broadband penetration is less than 1 percent.

There are still another bunch of people who collect e-books but prefer to read them in black and white. So they wait till other employees leave to take print-outs and acting suspiciously guilty sneak around the printer to collect them. Of course, once these print-outs are read they are bound to land up in the hands of street food patrons.

Often, employees are eager to participate in CSR activities so they can do their bit for the society. So you would find them taking time out on weekends, traveling to the outskirts of the city. Then with a sympathetic look they get down to doing some social work (and not forget to get these captured on celluloid!). However most of these employees overlook the fact that they in some way are responsible for the state of such indigent people. For one, we city dwellers mindlessly consume electricity, while people in rural towns have to bear with regular load shedding. Secondly all the garbage we generate finds its way into landfills, which are situated on the city’s outskirts. Also the power-plants, which supply us electricity, are again situated on the fringes of the city. In short, though we live miles away, we manage to pollute the habitat of the underprivileged.

If we as individuals believe IT is an enabler for any business, we should to learn to respect these tools of trade. Just by using products that claim to be ‘Green’, doesn’t end our responsibility towards IT. At times we should sit and think whether we still are users of technology or have we become its abusers. Just a little bit of cautiousness from our end can make a huge difference in the lives of millions.