Green Computing and Techno-Gandhian Philosophy
Green Computing refers to building up of energy-efficient and renewable-energy based computing devices to reduce cost and carbon-emissions in the environment. As more and more electrical components running in a computing environment, the emission of carbon-dioxide and other hazardous gases added to the atmosphere and heating up of air takes place causing disastrous environmental damage and global warming in the future. Hence, most of the IT companies are looking for setting up their infrastructure eco-friendly and invent devices that consume less energy and produce less carbon footprint.
The Techno-Gandhian Philosophy (TGP) suggests the use of minimal technology and maximizing of human-friendly operations in the industrial world. It comes as a measure to control the growing evolution of the IT world and its widespread applications in all walks of life. The continuous development of software and hardware and vigorous consumption of heavy-load processes and resources needs to be curtailed down in order to maintain eco-friendly computing environment. The TGP consistently motivates the IT wizards to go greener and utilize the inter-mediate technologies to realize their inventions.
While other industries are aiming for seeking alternate energy sources like sun, water, wind, sugar and bio-fuel etc, IT industry is left with a bleak option of using the low-voltage electrical energy with reduced metallic and gaseous emanations. The manufacturing process of chipsets, motherboards and other hardware components has been re-engineered to meet the growing demand for green computing. Companies like Dell, Microsoft, Intel and National Semiconductors have already been re-thinking on their strategies, designs and material usage for building their products in order to achieve energy efficiency and productivity.
Currently the world is working for global warming and climate change issues, and it has become imperative to materialize green computing in terms of Gandhian ideals which has also been increasingly getting attention in many parts of the world.
Controlling the carbon footprint
The onus of green computing is in the improvisation of processes and innovation of ideas that improves energy-conservation and environment friendly products. Every product manufactured has its own side-effects in the environment of its usage.
Planting of more trees around the computing environment is considered as the best way to control the carbon-dioxide pollution. Other suggestions like solar energy, creating wet lands etc. considerably reduces the atmospheric carbon-dioxide. Dell has come up with its product-recycling program and its “Plant a tree for me” campaign has made the customers feel the green effect and offset the carbon emissions. Its dual core processors are found to be energy efficient.
Technologically, many experts found that cloud computing and centralized data centers reduce the power consumption and related emissions. Solar powered cyber community center in South-Pacific region of the U.S.A is another innovative idea of promoting the ‘green’ campaign. Intel uses virtualization technique that uses a single, powerful base system combining the power of multiple physical systems thus reducing the overall power efficiency.
Environmental Protection Agency, USA has set the guidelines for companies to implement green computing plans and the production of energy-saving devices. It also issues an “Energy Star Logo” accreditation for those who successfully have achieved remarkable green computing efforts.
“Zonbu”, a California based company is the first to introduce a completely eco-responsible computer, “Zonbox”, a PC which emits zero percent carbon. It consumes only 15W of power compared to 75W consumed by normal desktops.
The TGP Initiatives
Many argue that hundred trees are planted for every tree uprooted or cut for human needs. Some others believe that the world has enough to advance to the future generations by sailing through technological advancements. But, very few realize that it is happening at the cost of many virtues like human values, environment and of course, our whole planet.
Top level strategic decisions and policies taken in organizations can be influenced by Gandhi’s economic model and natural ways of sustaining environment. Some of the management practices need to be transformed to deliver the ‘green’ results which could be cost-effective solutions in the longer run. Some of the ways of achieving a measurable green house effect are:
In contrast to the popular belief that going green is turning to village, we must remember the words of Gandhiji, “Return to the villages means a definite, voluntary recognition of the duty of bread labour and not it connotes.” If it is true that human intellect leads to innovation, it is much larger truth that it is the manual work which restores the morality behind every human. In His words, “...villages cannot retain the freedom they have enjoyed from time immemorial if they do not control the production of prime necessaries of life.”
When companies are moving their production facilities to villages for many reasons like cost cuts, increased productivity, cheaper resources etc, people of the soil has every reason to concern about their habitat and its ecosystem. IT companies shifting their focus on remote places is a welcome trend but how many of them are doing it “Green” is still a larger question. Colleges, Universities, and other offices find uncultivable and unpopulated remote lands in sub-urban areas suitable for their establishments. But, it is sad that none of them give a thought on how much eco-damage it would cause in a long run in the form of global warming, depletion of ozone layer and carbon footprint.
It is a common sight in the office buildings, a separate room for the servers which inhibits no person except a lot of heat and carbonized atmosphere. It is another phenomenon going on in many BPOs where a huge hall full of hundreds of computers before the human operators with headsets liberally generating five times more of heat than the room temperature. In small and medium sized companies, the need for air-conditioning has been duly ignored and people are working at above normal room temperature environment which would cause severe health hazards and carbon footprints. Inefficient organizing of hardware spare parts result into cheaper purchasing of duplicates from local markets, which usually do not attach eco-friendly tags and are prone to increase the carbon emission. Studies reveal that heat and micro-waves caused due to excessive use of mobile causes brain damage and cancer.
What the world is achieving through constant science and technological innovations is nothing but the sudden sparkling of the brain activity in the form of ideas and thoughts. A layman would scarcely understand what the machine does and how it does. The role of human element in organizational processes is repeatedly emphasized by the Techno-Gandhian Philosophy just as what Gandhi believed about hand-spun clothing: “The art that is in the machine-made article, appeals only to the eye; the art in Khadi appeals first to the heart and then to the eye.”
Green Computing must be seen as a revolutionary approach towards a clean environment and future of the IT industry. It is not just a cost-effective, high-productive methodology for manufacturing processes but also a morally viable humanistic approach that brings a new dimension in the corporate social responsibility.