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AxelleDRouge
AxelleDRouge

Posted on

Let's talk about ecology in the tech industry

I have just read this post :

And it explains clearly my own observations too.
As someone who is really concerned by the state of the planet (since longer than I am coding), I want to think and debate on what could be done to improve the tech industry on those matters.

Do you know some interesting project to change some really energy consuming part of the job ?

For example, what about hosting data ? wouldn't it be interesting to be able to host our data close to us, in smaller datacenters powered by renewable energy ?
If you were a website used everywhere in the world, maybe you would need to use differents servers in differents countries, which would mean being able to power the server only at day, using solar energy ?

Or about the coding methods ? The way I see it, writting efficient code is even more important to use the less energy for the more actions.

I think that the subject is not only very important, but will become in the future more urgent. And by that time, we must have already changed our way of thinking and doing things.

Discussion (11)

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

It’s an interesting topic, the only reasonable “answer” I have found is planting tree’s.

There are several companies that can be payed to replant forest areas etc. :)

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge Author

Yes planting trees is one a the propositions. Like Ecosia. But I'm never sure about those solutions. Are the trees planted where they are need ? are they the right species ? But at least it is something.
Something that would be interesting would be to use the heat released by the data-center. Like to create greenhouses on them :)

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr • Edited on

I think those options have been investigated, the main issue is that making the nessesary equipment is not worth the gains afaik.

Planting trees is pretty forward tho, every kg tree grown is basically almost a kg of carbon removed from the atmosphere.

Plus, the eco system bonuses, I hardly think one can do anything wrong, besides uprooting them shortly after.

It’s kinda like the solar panel problem, they take a long time to even out in the carbon equation, and only have a set lifespan + the recycling difficulties of them.

Hence why I tend to prefer windmills because of their simplicity. :)

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge Author

True the solar panel are not the best solution compared to windmills. But their worth and efficiency depend on their location. The question of the energy is always linked to the environment (is the place more windy, or has more sunshine, or is close to a river,...)

Planting trees is indeed pretty straightforward. Is it really able to compensate the energy consumed by datacenters ? I'm not sure.

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

Compensation would depend on the energy source I guess, nuclear, wind, solar salt boilers, or geothermal are all low carbon emission solutions relative to construction emission and operating emission to my knowledge.

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge Author

Yes but electricity isn't easily transported. Therefore the sources must be close and in sufficient quantity. Apart from the nuclear (which open another can of worms) it would implies that the datacenter must need less energy, so they should be smaller

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

True, that could imply that one of the deciding factors for more environmental datacenters would be location, a data center next to a dam fx. could be quite large without drawbacks to my knowledge

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge Author

Probably yes, depending on what a datacenter needs to work, maybe a study would be necessary to know the quantity of energy by quantity of data

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lafnian1990 profile image
lafnian1990 • Edited on

I would like to meet you. You study ecology and I would like to have a discussion with you. Scientific experience and forecasting are important skills for the student and scientist. I recently found a cool site envrexperts.com/ for self-exploration of the environment. I think this might interest you. I liked some of the articles on recycling or water pollution.

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himann524 profile image
Himann524

It's really difficult to change energy consumption volume today. I think it's better just to turn to more environmentally friendly ways of getting energy. Nuclear power plants and potentially thermonuclear fusion will come in handy. Besides this, I know about a project called MyImpactPower. It's aimed to encourage users to do good things for nature. It offers gamification of routine activities like trash recycling and such things. I think it's a good undertaking especially for younger generations which will readily join challenges and such stuff.