Environmental effects

None of us have mentioned the environmental effects of recent technologies. Environmentalists generally think of technology as a factor that increases impact on an ecosystem -- in other words, as a negative effect. Here's one statistic that certainly has to do with Media Studies and would begin to suggest otherwise:

Newsprint is 1/6 of all US paper production. The Sunday New York Times alone uses some 75,000 trees per edition.

Whoa. This is one more great reason to encourage the rise of online news sites. The NYT certainly has adapted well to the Internet, as we've discussed several times over.

But before you cheer for new media helping the environment, there cons outweigh the pros. Looking at paper production alone, new media has (net) increased paper use because of the affordability of consumer printers. Plus add in the extremely detrimental effects of computer (especially computer chip) production.

My point is not that we should avoid these technologies. New technologies are an important part of our society, and they will usually have negative effects on the environment. It's virtually inevitable. My point is only that there is a HUGE market for "green" companies to dominate the industry, appealing to the increasingly mainstream eco-friendly consumers.