When I was a kid, it was common to see trash lining the highway, and before crossing the Nashua River in my hometown of Fitchburg, Mass., my sister and I would guess what color the water would be. (It changed depending on the color of the paper being manufactured in the factories lining its banks.)
All that changed not only because of stricter state and federal regulations but also because of increased awareness.
Remember the television ad with Iron Eyes Cody, a single tear running down his cheek as he observed the polluted land (and a discarded bag of fast food was dumped at his feet)? Or Woodsy Owls admonition to, "Give a hoot! Dont pollute!"? Those campaigns made a huge impact.
Suddenly, it wasnt OK to dump your Slurpee cup out of a moving car. And, suddenly, I understood why a river running purple wasnt a good thing.
Theres no Iron Eyes Cody or Woodsy Owl leading the green IT charge, but the message is out there. Suddenly, its not OK to use only a fraction of your server capacity or to make IT purchases without figuring in energy efficiency and recycling costs. But with green IT, the message isnt quite as clear—or simple—as, "Dont pollute."
Since "green IT" appeared on eWeeks public editorial calendar as a featured topic for this issue (and eventually came to consume the issue), weve received hundreds of pitches from PR professionals offering various experts, products, Web sites, calculators and studies for consideration as we put our stories together—easily more pitches than we have ever gotten for any other edit calendar item in all my years with the company. Its been a challenge to get through and rationalize all the information weve received, and the same must be true for our readers.
Theres probably not a vendor out there that hasnt attempted to put some kind of green spin on its tech offering. Sometimes the connection is easy to see, and sometimes its a stretch.
As they go through the process of identifying, evaluating and procuring technology for their companies, IT managers are thus left to parse green IT promotions and to determine how much green matters based on the value their companies place on environmental responsibility. (The equation is easy when a green technology also cuts costs; it gets harder to figure out when going green means spending more.) And some companies just plain dont care about being green. (Though theyre likely loath to admit it.)
But, in the end, the increased awareness that the green IT campaign has engendered—even if it is just a sales gimmick for some vendors—can only be a good thing.
Give a hoot.
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