A distinct segment of green technology consumers ready to put their dollars behind eco-friendly product choices is becoming visible. Forrester’s Technographics® surveys reveal that consumers who care about the environment and the environmental impacts of their technology purchases and usage tend to be female, older, and somewhat less well-off than those who are not sensitive to environmental issues. With 12% of US adults already “bright green,” and another 41% poised to join them, marketers and designers of consumer technology products and services must change product marketing and product design to embrace green principles like lower-impact manufacturing, longer product life cycles, and recycleability.
Extending hardware lifecycles should be paramount. I have a Mac that’s fully functional but abandoned by Apple. I have computers that can’t run XP or higher, abandoned by Microsoft. The latter are still useful thanks to Damn Small Linux and FreeBSD.
The Mac is a dead end product and a testament to Apple’s non-green approach. Apple’s quirky and non-standard configuration, from NuBus slot to their funky connections, may have been targeted at consumer-friendliness but insured that customers were locked into Apple-centric computing. I can’t update the hardware (very much), and OSX won’t run on early PowerPCs. Unfortunately, the quirkiness of the component selection also means there’s not much in the way of support with NetBSD or Linux, either.
Standardization in the PC market, though, assures me of a steady supply of parts for most of my old computers. And constant development of DSL assures that my old computers can benefit from a modern OS with a small footprint suitable for those older machines. That keeps them out of the landfill. The one drawback is they’re not as energy efficient as some of the new computers, especially ITX-based boxes with lower power demands.
Another shameless plug for the Damn Small Machine: fanless, low power demand, portable, and it can run off a USB stick so there’s no moving parts or sound from it. Cool.