Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If You Loved the Environment, You Would Get Your News in Print (Or Not)

So argues an environmentalist described in a post by Dead Tree Edition:
“It doesn’t take electricity to read my paper,” she said in a video posted recently at PBS' Mediashift site. “I’m too informed about what’s going to happen to my computer when I’m done with it and too concerned about that” to rely on the Web for news.
Perhaps computers are hard to dispose of in a non-toxic way, but that's missing the point.

If online news were banned (for some reason), the vast majority of computers in use today would still exist. On the margin, online news adds almost nothing to the toxins of computers. Sure, reading a newspaper online uses a marginal amount of electricity, but so does turning on the lights in your home to read a printed product, or doing something else on your computer.

Newspapers, on the other hand, have many obvious environmental drawbacks, such as the paper required to print all the copies and the gas needed to deliver them. But again, one more subscriber isn't going to have much of an impact. However, each additional online reader creates less pollution than each additional print reader, so online news reading is that way to go if you already use a computer for other tasks.