The number of Green ICT conferences and workshops rebounded in 2016 after slumping the previous year. Europe continues to host more events than do other regions.
Information and Communications Technology for Development - ICT4D - is an explosive force in the developing economies. It could become an environmentally damaging force unless Green ICT becomes an explicit part of ICT4D. Now is the time to make that happen.
The American state of California is home to ~70 million end-user computers, servers and computer monitors. It is now planning to role out a series of energy standards for new units beginning in 2018.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) is an American-lead initiative to collaboratively develop shred technology to improve data center performance and efficiency. Three Chinese large companies, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, founded a similar initiative in 2011.
We first encountered air-borne pollution as a threat when we reported about the impact of volcanic ash on Icelandic data centers. Man-made pollution is also an issue.
Our 2013 post "Too Little Focus on Green ICT in American Higher Education" looked at a number of indicators, including a Sierra Club program.
Sierra Club's 2013 10 Coolest Schools' rating system gives "...a percentage of  available points based on the percentage of computers purchased that are registered EPEAT Silver or Gold." Also, "Institutions earn half of  available points by having a program to refurbish, reuse, or recycle electronic waste generated by the school. Institutions earn half of available points for having a similar program for electronic waste generated by students." Those two account for less than 3% of the 1000 points available, so it is not surprising the Sierra Club offers only one Green ICT citation as well: American University for its "quarterly e-waste drives."
Things have not improved three years later.
We've noted that there has been too little focus on Green ICT in American higher education. This does not mean that colleges and universities in American and around the global aren't making any progress at all - you can click on the 'education' tag above to see examples. We regularly add updates about global higher education in this post -- the latest looks at an American University's attempt to make an impact on student e-waste.
Businesses and individuals are advancing innovative ideas with potential for mainstream Green ICT. These range from products and services available today to futuristic concepts for tomorrow. The latest is modular electronics for devices and IoT.
A MarketsandMarkets report says, "The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011 at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2011 to 2016." Three strategies for dealing with an organization's aging ICT gear are scrap, external reuse, and internal reuse. Internal reuse offers a growing number of increasingly sophisticated options while external reuse is revealing some unintended consequences. Reuse options are growing for home devices, as well.
It is difficult to get reliable data on how long we hold onto the 19+ billion edge devices attached to the global ICT infrastructure. Diverse device types and cultural practices complicate the issue. So do changing purchase and lease plans.