Today is the third Blog Action Day.
Though I joined the initiative since the first edition, I would catch this year’s BAD as an opportunity to bring some novelties on IT goes Green.
The themes chosen by BAD, today and in the past years, all intersect in a wider, urgent, critical topic which is sustainable development. ITgG always dealt with IT from that global point of view; this is why every BAD theme always fitted perfectly with this blog’s philosophy; this is why, also, boundaries among topics such as “Environment”, “Poverty”, “Climate Change” seem to be that blurred in ITgG’s posts; and this is why, finally, so many different solutions and theories are presented over this blog, as equally urgent and important.

As I said above, I want to catch this year’s initiative as an opportunity to do something new on this blog.
First, today I will write in first person: until now I always preferred an impersonal form, as I was publishing posts which (in most of the cases) were just to point out article from others’ sources.
Compared to other blogs dealing with green Information Technology, ITgG always privileged long-term, systemic solutions and innovative theories (though relatively “old”) to fresher news. Main aim of this choice was to outline an holistic frame to look at sustainable development as whole. Explaining explicitly this systemic approach is something new I’ld do on this blog with this article.
Finally, being not my English that good, I’ve never been able to translate long articles on this blog, though pretending to keep it (almost) entirely bilingual. This article was written originally in English and will be fully translated, I do hope it won’t be just an exception as regards future articles.

I won’t spend too many words explaining what climate change is, since many other, authoritative sources are available for this purpose on the web. Beyond the faithful Wikipedia, I do suggest to take a glance at BAD’s 8 Great Climate Change Resources. Here, I’ll just underline a few key-concepts for the sake of this article’s clarity:
– climate change is related to many natural phenomena, but it is mostly caused by CO2’s concentration in the atmosphere. According to Wikipedia, other relevant causes are aerosols and ozone depletion
– both CO2 concentration and climate are changing extremely fast; too fast
– human activities all around the globe are the biggest, most influent cause of the speed, at which the above changes are taking place

Many are the reasons why anthropogenic factors are that influent on climate change: from the unsustainable use of the most spreaded energy sources, to the emissions related to manufacturing, transportations, fruition and disposal of goods, to the green areas’ impoverishment (because of deforestation, land exploitation and animal agriculture, desertification).
Among all of the mentioned activities, the impact of those related to Information Technology is astonishingly high: around 2% of the world CO2 emissions are caused by IT; more or less the same quantity produced by the entire avionics’ sector.

How to face a problem of such huge proportions?
Trying to find a single, universal solution is just wrong. As for any other systemic issue, systemic solutions are needed. When dealing with environmental and global issues, we always need to keep in mind how deeply interconnected is every actor and every phenomenon on earth, with all the others.
As the world’s climate quickly gets hotter, glaciers, coastal cities, food supplies, biodiversity are seriously threatened. Such threats comes from a variety of causes, not a single one, and they ask for different, complementary solutions. By this, I mean not only that each issue must be faced by re-thinking the whole system of human activities; I also mean that every single activity must be looked at from a varierty of perspectives, each one suggesting its solutions.

And here we get to what ITgG is trying to do since 2006.
My aim since then is to show how many different technologies and techniques, designs, practices, researches and studies are already available or anyway feasible in a reasonable period. As they continuosly grow and develop, those resources are promising more and more to lighten the burden of IT’s impact, which at present presses the environment, the biosphere, the mankind’s health and safety. What is to be made yet, is to find smart ways to make these resources work together, to become systemic, start virtuous circles, produce positive emergence.
I would focus on two last critical topics, too often underestimated, before I conclude this article: knowledge and practice. Both of them are indispensable, but no real solutions can be found and no problems can be really understood, if education and information aren’t fully available for everyone at anytime; also, no practice is adequate enough, if it is not learnt from the past, understood in the present and tested by the experience.
This should give you the idea of how important I consider BAD’s initiative and the spreading of worthing words, coming from people: ideas can be made real with dedication and with the will of acting in first person.
In order to trigger a new (actual) informatic revolution, Information Technology must be redefined. That revolution could cut (hopefully eliminate, in a longer period) CO2 emissions, from activities which can be made more efficient and from the IT sector itself. That revolution could give us a good hope.
It is a long hard way but it’s too relevant not to take care of.

Thanks BAD, thanks readers, thanks activists,
Stefano Cieri

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