An interesting link from BoingBoing (the most linked to site on the internet) about green NGOs supporting anti-DRM (digital rights management) movements. As a lot of you know and as I’ve mentioned before, CDs produce an immense amount of waste, something like 1kg of CO2 for every one produced. So in that sense, supporting downloading software and music instead of purchasing CDs has definite environmental benefits. Not only is the problem CDs, but new software that comes out, specifically Microsoft’s new Vista OS, requires a tremendous amount of processing power for essentially the same utilities.
Why is this a problem? Because most old computers absolutely can’t run Vista. If you want to have your computer up to date you have to trash your old one and buy a new computer. Obviously this causes a lot of e-waste to head to the dump and Microsoft has spent more than $500 Million on advertising Vista. That’s a lot of pressure on the average consumer to drop $1200 and update their computer. Greenpeace, the Green Party and Friends of the Earth have gotten on board and are supporting an anti-DRM petition. Creating open-sourced software that can be modified to run on inferior computers would help alleviate this problem, but there aren’t tons of easy solutions to this problem. People want faster, smarter computers but we shouldn’t be cattle-prodded into buying a new one.