Open Collective
Open Collective
Ultimately, the journey towards digital sustainability requires a collective commitment
Published on March 9, 2024 by hamishcampbell

The proliferation of technology has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate. However, as we dive deeper into the digital age, we are increasingly confronted with the alarming consequences of our reliance on these technologies. The links shed light on the issue of "digital" waste and its detrimental impact on the environment.

Gerry McGovern's article "World Wide Waste" delves into the staggering amount of energy consumed by digital technologies, from data centres to our personal devices. He emphasizes the urgent need to address this issue and advocates for more sustainable practices in the digital realm.

Similarly, the research conducted by Loughborough University's Volume project highlights the environmental consequences of digital waste, particularly in terms of energy consumption and carbon emissions. The article underscores the importance of adopting eco-friendly approaches to digital design and usage.

Furthermore, the conversation around "dark data" and its contribution to environmental degradation further underscores the need for digital decarbonization. The Guardian's report on the hidden costs of Ireland's data center boom reveals the environmental toll of data storage and processing facilities, urging for greater accountability and regulation in the industry.

In response to these pressing concerns, initiatives like Digital Decarb aim to promote sustainable practices in the digital sphere, advocating for reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions.

In contrast to the prevailing trend of digital overconsumption and waste, the #OMN (Open Media Networking) project presents a refreshing approach to digital technology. Unlike platforms driven by personalization and distraction, #OMN prioritizes community engagement and meaningful interaction. Its core mission revolves around building tools for communal use rather than individual gratification.

This ethos stands in stark contrast to the #mainstreaming of social tech, which at its core prioritizes personalization and profit over community well-being. By focusing on politics as inherently human rather than as a commodity, #OMN seeks to empower people to reclaim control over their (digital) lives and foster genuine connections within their communities and wider society.

However, effectively communicating this message to mainstream audiences remains a challenge. The prevailing narrative around digital technology often overlooks its environmental and social impact, instead emphasizing convenience and innovation. Breaking through this mindset requires not just words, but tangible actions and demonstrations of the #OMN's principles in practice.
In essence, #OMN, along with initiatives like #4opens and #OGB, serve as tools for social change, enabling communities to shape their digital environments according to "native" #openweb values and needs. Through collaborative efforts and grassroots activism, we can challenge the status quo and build a sustainable and equitable future.

Ultimately, the journey towards digital sustainability requires a collective commitment to reimagining the role of technology in our lives and prioritizing the well-being of our planet and communities above all else. The #OMN project invites people to join this endeavour, not just through words, but through meaningful action and collaboration. Together, we can harness the power of technology for the greater good and pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable online and offline world.