Greening the Media

Greening the Media

Greening the Media

Greening the Media


You will never look at your cell phone, TV, or computer the same way after reading this book.Greening the Medianot only reveals the dirty secrets that hide inside our favorite electronic devices; it also takes apart the myths that have pushed these gadgets to the center of our lives. Marshaling an astounding array of economic, environmental, and historical facts, Maxwell and Miller debunk the idea that information and communication technologies (ICT) are clean and ecologically benign. The authors show how the physical reality of making, consuming, and discarding them is rife with toxic ingredients, poisonous working conditions, and hazardous waste. But all is not lost. As the title suggests, Maxwell and Miller dwell critically on these environmental problems in order to think creatively about ways to solve them. They enlist a range of potential allies in this effort to foster greener media--from green consumers to green citizens, with stops along the way to hear from exploited workers, celebrities, and assorted bureaucrats. Ultimately,Greening the Mediarethinks the status of print and screen technologies, opening new lines of historical and social analysis of ICT, consumer electronics, and media production.


In the eager search for the benefits of modern science and technology we have become enticed
into a nearly fatal illusion: that through our machines we have at last escaped from dependence on
the natural environment.

—Barry Commoner, 1971, 12

The increasingly faster and more versatile computers, appealing mobile phones, high-definition
TVs, Internet, tiny music players, ingenious photo cameras, entertaining games consoles and even
electronic pets give us the idea of a developed, pioneering and modern world. It is indeed a new
era for many; but the dark side of this prosperous world reveals a very different reality, that far from
taking us to the future, takes us back to a darker past.

—Centre for Reflection and Action on Labour Issues, 2006, 4

We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us.

—Pogo, Earth Day, 1970

Greening the Media focuses on the environmental impact of the media— the myriad ways that media technology consumes, despoils, and wastes natural resources. It introduces ideas, stories, and facts that have been marginal or absent from popular, academic, and professional histories of media technology.

Readers may not be surprised to discover that media technologies contain toxic substances, or that the workers who assemble their cell phones and computers do so under hazardous conditions. But if you are like us, you will be startled by the scale and pervasiveness of these environmental risks. They are present in and around every site where electronic and electric devices are manufactured, used, and thrown away, poisoning humans, animals, vegetation, soil, air, and water.

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