FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Texting While the Planet Burns: Smartphones and Climate Change

Smartphones are a huge part of our lives.

We use them constantly for texts, social media, calls, directions, and finding information online. Even when we’re sleeping, they’re still active, receiving data all night.

But those little notifications we get on our phones have a surprisingly big environmental footprint. Keeping millions of people connected uses enormous amounts of energy, and most of that energy comes from fossil fuels.

AT&T and Verizon, the two largest telecommunication companies in the United States, use an incredible 26 million megawatts of energy per year, as much as 2.6 million households. And they get less than 2 percent of that energy from wind or solar power.

For their millions of customers, that means every call, text, or search we make is fueling climate change.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In the tech industry, leaders like Google and Apple are already at or near 100 percent power from renewable energy sources. Even Amazon, which isn’t known for its social responsibility, has a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy for its servers.

Sprint, a direct competitor to AT&T and Verizon, has a goal of reaching 10 percent renewable power this year.

It’s not a question of AT&T or Verizon denying climate change or its impacts. Both companies state that they take climate change seriously. Both have worked to reduce the amount of energy it takes to process data on their massive servers. As a result, even as data usage has grown tremendously, their overall energy usage has increased more slowly.

They’ve slowed the growth of the problem, and saved themselves money in the process. But they’re still using millions of megawatts of energy that directly fuel climate change.

Now is the ideal time for both companies to embrace a commitment to 100 percent clean energy. Clean energy is on the rise in the United States. There are 75,000 megawatts of wind power installed in the country, making up 5.4 percent of the power grid, with the projection to double by 2020 and reach 20 percent by 2030.

Last year, a record of 14,000 megawatts of new solar were installed, and 2018 will bring total U.S. solar installations up to 2 million units.

As clean energy sources grow, they’re getting much cheaper. If major companies like Apple can achieve 100 percent renewable energy across all data centers, we know that AT&T and Verizon can do the same.

It’s not a lack of money that’s holding them back. Both AT&T and Verizon are taking in over $120 billion in revenues per year. They spend millions upon millions of dollars on advertising to lure in new customers.

What’s missing is pressure from their customers to purchase greener energy options. Companies care about what their customers think. Consumers have pushed food companies to offer organic options. They’ve pushed toy manufacturers to remove unsafe chemicals like phthalates.

And they’ve gotten many tech companies to commit to 100 percent clean energy.

AT&T and Verizon need to hear from customers that a commitment to clean energy matters. And if enough of us take action and tell them to hang up on fossil fuels, they will. If they don’t, more and more customers might find themselves turning to Sprint.

Distributed by OtherWords.

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail