Is digital media a part of a sustainable lifestyle? That is a very important question. Can digital media become a set part of everyone’s lives for generations to come without consequences? The short answer is no. If digital media becomes a part of our life, it will not be free, it will not be clean, and it will not be without consequences. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Fact one; digital media will not be free. Right now there is Facebook and Twitter and for the most part they are free. However, how long do you think it’s going to be before you have to pay a subscription fee for the privilege? One year, two years? The point is that eventually, big corporations are going to step in to the world of digital media. Once they do, they will see digital media as a potential market and begin tapping the well. Digital media will survive because people want it. They want to be connected and talk to people in Europe or Africa. They like being able to live in Chicago and see what is happening is Sydney.
Fact two; digital media will not be clean. Currently, digital media is being fed using coal. Coal is a great power source, but it is exhaustible. We will eventually run out. Also, the mining and burning of coal release harmful elements and compounds into the atmosphere. These compounds cause global warming, lung disease, and acid rain. Digital media uses up our precious stores of dirty coal at a prodigious rate. If we continue, we will mine our planet dry and obliterate ourselves in the process for the sake of talking to a “friend” half a world away.
Fact three; digital media will not be without consequences. Nothing in this world ever comes without consequences. You eat a strawberry, a strawberry is gone and you consume some energy. Build a nuke, and millions are going to die. Not all consequences are bad, despite the negative connotation of the word. However, a majority of consequences are not pretty. For one, extensive use of digital media has detrimental effects on the thought processes of humans. We become unable to separate the relevant from the irrelevant. We become short tempered and impatient. We stop being able to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. In short, digital media can give you ADHD. You are literally giving yourself a brain disorder if you overuse digital media. Another consequence is the strain that the use of digital media puts on the world. Digital media eats through power supplies, cutting deeply into the remaining fossil fuels of the planet. Each time that the monster digital media takes a bite, at the same time it releases harmful chemicals into our environment. Continued use of digital media could result in another Ice Age, and energy crisis, or the melting of the polar ice caps. We could be responsible for the destruction of the human race as we know it because we wanted to be more connected around the world. What does that say about humans?
In conclusion, digital media is not a part of a sustainable lifestyle. It is not free, it is not clean, and it is not without risks. We will hurt ourselves, the planet, and the other inhabitants of this planet if we don’t do something about it. However, there is hope. If digital media usage was limited and we developed a clean power source, I believe that digital media could become a part of a sustainable lifestyle. However, digital media is not currently sustainable, nor does it appear that the conditions to make it sustainable are readily available any time in the near future.