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Smartphones Are Destroying The Planet Even Quicker Than We Thought

Tom Wood

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Smartphones Are Destroying The Planet Even Quicker Than We Thought

Smartphones, eh? Where would we be without them?

Chances are you are reading this very article on your smartphone - most likely on the toilet - but aside from the fact that it's downright unhygienic that's not the issue here.

Smartphones are apparently destroying not only our attention span, the art of conversation, and our short-term memory, but also the world!

According to some new research, the next time you go to buy a new smartphone, you should think about buying a new battery instead because smartphones apparently have a huge carbon footprint and are destroying the environment even quicker than we could have known.

So, even though we are using fewer huge carbon-guzzling PCs the carbon footprint of IT has risen dramatically.

Your selfie-stick is killing Planet Earth, as well as your dignity. Credit: PA
Your selfie-stick is killing Planet Earth, as well as your dignity. Credit: PA

The researchers from McMaster University in Canada found that whereas IT accounted for about 1% of the world's carbon footprint in 2007 it has tripled already and will consume about 14% by 2040 - that's a huge amount of carbon right there.

Part of the problem is that there are so many smartphones and we are always getting new ones. The shelf life of a smartphone is about 2 years (or whenever Apple decide it should break, am I right?) which makes them basically disposable.

For each smartphone to be made there must be minerals mined -as an example, a surprising amount of gold goes into making a modern phone.

This means that hanging onto a phone brings down your personal carbon footprint, simply because the stuff in a phone that you already own doesn't need to be mined again.

They are also getting bigger. The larger screen models that are popular these days are literally guzzling carbon.

They're not alone in their efforts to destroy the planet though. We can't pin the blame on smartphones alone.

Imagine this, but in your pocket. Credit: PA
Imagine this, but in your pocket. Credit: PA

Each click - especially on LADbible - has to be computed somewhere. Each Facebook refresh needs a server, each Google search has a bank of physical servers to make it happen.

Servers and data centres consume an insane amount of energy, and they are only going to get more - the study found that by 2040 they will account for 45% of the whole IT energy consumption.

More phones, require more servers - they're working as a team, people.

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What can we do to help? Well, keep your phone longer is one way to help. Also, recycle your phone. You can usually find someone to pay you to do that.

The lead author of the study, Lofti Belkhir said: "based on our research and other sources, currently less than 1% of smartphones are being recycled,"

That's pretty shameful given that you can actually send it away and someone will fling you some cash.

Actually, it's not the smartphones after all, is it? It's us again. Damn it.

Topics: Environment, World News, News, Technology, Apple, iPhone

Tom Wood
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