Reducing Energy Use and EMR Exposure

An Introductory Packet
Excerpts and Resources from An Electronic Silent Spring

  1. The Cloud Begins with Coal: An Overview of the Electricity Used by the Global Digital Ecosystem by Mark P. Mills, CEO, Digital Group, August 2013.
  2. “The Monster footprint of digital technology: The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated,” by Kris de Decker.
  3. Why We Need a Speed Limit for the Internet
    by Kris De Decker
  4. Are there limits to growth in data traffic?
    Mike Hazas, Janine Morley, Oliver Bates, Adrian Friday, Lancaster University
  5. E-lephants in Our Hands: How Electronics Impact Climate Change
    A Talk By Katie Singer given at The University of Oregon/Eugene Environmental Law Conference, March 4, 2016
  6. Eat, Sleep, Click: The Bicycle-Powered Internet (2012)
    Read Jane Anne Morris’ excellent piece about the real amount of energy used to power the Internet.
  7. “There’s No App for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation and Biodiversity Loss,” by Richard Heinberg (Post-Carbon Institute)
    If you want a big picture about technology’s place in our lives and its energy demands–and the line where humans must make our own ethical decisions, behavior changes and sacrifices, please read this manifesto.
  8. “Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us”
    Heinberg explains that our biggest problem is overshoot: “Society is addicted to growth, and that’s having terrible consequences for the planet and, increasingly, for us as well. We have to change our collective and individual behavior and give up something we depend on–power over our environment…. Machines won’t make the key choices that will set us on a sustainable path. Systemic change driven by moral awakening: it’s not just our last hope; it’s the only real hope we’ve ever had.”
  9. “When You Binge-Watch ‘Mad Men,’ You Might Be Killing the Planet: Why the explosion of streaming video could make global warming worse,” by Kent Finley
  10. “How Polluting is the Internet?” by Marcus Hurst, 2014
  11. Could You Power Your Home With A Bike? NPR
  12. “The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy,” by Bryan Walsh.
  13. “The Matrix Overloaded: Computers will use more electricity than the entire world can generate by 2040, tech experts claim,” by Jasper Hamil, 2016.
  14. Inside a Massive Electronics Graveyard
    Has anyone written about the amount of energy required to manufacture (and transport to consumers) the devices that access the Internet? In the Atlantic, Yepoka Yeebo recently described the impact that discarded devices (66 pounds per year per Westerner) have on one Ghanaian community.
  15. Dig more coal — the PCs are coming by Peter W. Huber,, May 31, 1999.
  16. The Power of Wireless Cloud
    An analysis of the impact on energy consumption of the growing popularity of accessing cloud services via wireless devices
  17. How Clean is Your Cloud?
    Written by Gary Cook, Greenpeace International, April 2012

More Resources:

Cook, Gary, “How Green Is Your Cloud?” The Greenpeace Policy Analyst
describes data centers visible from space and that require as much energy
to operate as it takes to power 250,000 European homes.
Glanz, James, “Power, Pollution and the Internet: Industry Wastes Vast
Amounts of Electricity, Belying Image,” 9.23.12, NY Times.

Pariser, Eli, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You,
Penguin, 2011.

Simpson, Cam, “Tech’s Tragic Secret: The world’s most sophisticated
smartphones and tablets start in the tin mines of Bangko Island,”
Bloomberg Businessweek, August 27, 2012.

Radio-free Zones

Around the world, a few radio-free zones have been established. In Europe, several are designed for electrically-hypersensitive people. Others occur second-handedly around government-operated astronomy stations. (To prevent interference with sensitive telescopes, nearby residents and visitors may be severely restricted from using wireless devices.) Several refuges have closed after antennas were installed nearby.

* In Greenbank, West Virginia, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory prohibits anything that produces radiofrequencies, including satellites and wireless devices. Some electrically-sensitive people find their symptoms eased in Greenbank; others find them aggravated.

* In Europe, small radio-free zones have been designated around astronomy stations in Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland and France. In November, 2011, Sweden’s Dalama County began preparing to create a radiation-free zone because one of its residents is electrosensitive.

For minimal exposure to magnetic fields, look for towns with a Delta electrical system and no transmitting utility meters.

To minimize exposure to cellular antennas’ RFs, can give info about a specific address. recommends hilly, mountainous regions where cell phone reception isn’t easily accessed. Look at telecom companies’ coverage maps to identify areas where no or few antennas have been installed: