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25 Things Geeks Can Do To Go Green

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With all the talk about state of the Earth's environment is today and what needs to be done to clean it up. Modern technology is often blamed with much of the pollution that happens today which has overshadowed how technology has prevented pollution from happening. The rise of digital photography has prevented millions of liters of toxic chemicals from being disposed of from all the digital pictures that were printed photo labs if they were printed from film negatives. That's not saying that modern technology isn't inherently good or inherently evil where it comes to the environment but there is much that users of technology can do to lessen the negative effects that the geek lifestyle has on the planet. This is a list of just twenty five things to help less energy use, waste heading landfills, and to promote recycling.

1. Put wall warts on their own power bar and turn it off when not in use: Devices that use power adapters dubbed wall warts or wire warts are constantly drawing power when not in use. That box that is the plug or is part of the power cord is a step down transformer which is a coil of wire which household AC current runs through to induce a lower voltage current in an adjoining coil of wire. Keeping these transformers connected to power wastes electricity. Since most of North America's electricity comes from coal fired power plants having millions of power adapters plugged in drawing power when the devices are turned off keeps these power plants spewing emmissions.

2. Donate a Used PC: There are hundreds of worthy organizations that currently very old PC's, some non-profit organizations still have PC's running Windows 95. Some organizations offer programs that teach youth how to rebuild PC's, That way PC's are being diverted from landfills, Youth get valuable work experience and organizations get updated PC's. Contact your local United Way or Salvation Army for information about how and where to donate your previously enjoyed PC's.

3. Don't Print it, PDF it. Despite the promise of the paperless office when computers came into workplaces, most everybody still has a printer attached to their home and work PC's. While attaching documents to e-mails has saved a tree or two many people still hit print when they want to share some nugget of creativity from their computers. Printing documents to be shared may be quick and easy, but there is another way that is just as quick and easy and doesn't kill trees. Creating PDF's which are readable by just about anybody with a computer. There are many programs out there that are just as easy to use as clicking on the Print button. CutePDF is an alternative printer driver that turns any document into a PDF. Clicking the print button and changing from the default printer to CutePDF, will pop up a save dialog box, and will create a PDF out of the document.

3. Reduce, Recharge, and Recycle: One of the most toxic containing products that still get sent to landfills by the millions are one of the most essential for life with modern technology: batteries. Changing from single use alkaline to rechargeable batteries will not only prevent hundreds of single use batteries from hitting the landfill because recycling programs for these batteries are practically non existent, but will save the user money as well. It takes less energy to recharge a battery than it takes to make a single use battery. Modern rechargeable batteries last for hundreds of charges their lifespan isn't infinite. Unlike single use batteries, rechargeables can be recycled, check for a drop box in most electronics stores and specialty battery dealers.

4. Don't Buy DVD's with cardboard sleeves: One latest trends in excessive unnecessary over packaging is the cardboard sleeves on most movie DVD's. The graphics on the cardboard sleeve is exactly as what comes on the paper insert that surrounds the plastic keep case. At one time the cardboard sleeve contained additional promotional information about the movie but that is no longer the case. Now the cardboard sleeves are needless waste from the moment DVD's leave the factory. The only way movie studios will get rid of the cardboard sleeves is if consumers don't buy them. It took consumer backlash for the recording industry to get rid of CD's packaged in the 'longbox' It will take a similar backlash to get rid of the cardboard sleeves on DVD's.

5. Use Open Source Alternatives to Commercial Application Software: Open source software is seen as an easy way for computer users to save money by using programs that are free instead of having to pay for popular commercial application software. Using open source software not only saves money but cuts down on environmental pollution. Commercial software is put onto discs, but into boxes and then into larger packing boxes and then shipped hundreds sometimes thousands of miles to stores where it is purchased by consumers. Downloading an open source application often takes less time than it takes to drive to a store to buy the latest version of Office, or Photoshop. Many open source software applications are often less demanding on computing power which helps extend the lifespan of computers.

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