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Posted by Napalm
@Video_Game_King said:
@JJWeatherman said:
Beyond the energy resources it takes to manufacture consoles, there are then chemicals inside the consoles that are potentially very harmful to the environment if the consoles aren’t properly disposed of. 
Who the hell throws out their consoles? I wish to punish these people severely.
You're more than welcome to dig out my Xbox from the bottom of the garbage dump if you wish.
Posted by dietmango

Yeah read that too, and really brought up an interesting perspective on the environment and the things we use. For the most part, I make sure the only electronics that are running are the ones that matter, meaning the ones I'm actually going to use for that period of time (gaming, interwebs, etc.). After I'm done, I turn everything off. And now I'll disconnect everything if I'm not using them.

I also recycle and try to conserve water and other materials whenever I can. I think I'm good, but I guess I can do better, should there be an opportunity to do so.

Posted by iam3green

pretty crazy. i don't think i will do that though, it's hard to remember that. i know i will want to play something and say hey wait why isn't my console turning on. one way of going green is the lead free solder that they made for the consoles. it also causes problems with the console from overtime of use, rrod, E74, ylod. i'm sure they are still working on fixing the problem to make the solder work good. every year my school has a electronic recycling thing so that also helps.

Posted by EpicSteve

Maybe I'm a bad person. 

 
"Going green" always sounds like a good idea. However, when I turn off all my electronics when I leave or go to sleep, it's for the electric bill. 

Now, if you'll excuse, I'm going to go for a drive in my diesel truck that also runs on burning tires. 
Edited by pekoe212
@JJWeatherman:  Here it is:  http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text 
I read the article in the print version of the magazine, so it really stuck in my mind thanks to the full-page, full-color pictures. Check out the photo gallery section which has them all. The Toxic Computer diagram is interesting too. And colorful!

Thanks to all these responses, I am going to start unplugging the power strip my TV and all my consoles are plugged into. I discovered I saved $10 a month by shutting my desktop computer down every night, even for just 4 to 6 hours, rather than leaving it in sleep mode. And then the annoying blue lights are all turned off.
Posted by JJWeatherman
@Fontan: I couldn't find it on their website. It's probably just in the magazine.

@codyanne

@mfpantst, @styl3s, try not just turning off your consoles etc., but connecting everything to a power strip & unplugging/cutting the power on the power strip when you go to bed.  Your wallets will thank you!

Yeah, good tip. I actually have a couple of spots set up like that. Just flip the power strip's switch on in the morning and you're good to go.

@pekoe212: Link to the National Geographic article? Sounds interesting.   
Posted by Tuddlesworth
@Daveyo520 said:
Sorry JJ, that is sooo long.
That sounds like porn dialog.
Posted by Brendan

The entire hobby is based on using electronics that use significant electricity, so trying to be a "green" gamer is like trying to be a healthy coal miner.  You want to be "green"?  Go outside and play.

Posted by Aronman789

I don't truly care that much about the whole "green" thing, honestly. I'll let the future deal with that, those guys are assholes anyway.

Posted by Aetheldod

I do the unplugging thing , for both reasons enviroment and my wallet .... my wallet is the happiest one at the moment :D , I do wonder tho how much impact my gaming does , but not on the energy I use but for the amount of trash that I generate (plastic bags etc.). I think this will become less of a issue as more downloading games to consoles than rather have physical media becomes the norm .

Posted by Fontan

I not only unplug my PS3, but I pretty much unplg everything in the house except for the fridge. Even the router I leave unplugged when not using it. I also have to run after my girlfriend, turning off the lights as she leaves them on when she goes to another room.

I don't see myself as overly "green", as I don't get much out of my way to do anything sustainable, but I do avoid excessive energy consumption, taking plastic bags on a supermarket, that kind of small stuff.

As for games, and big companies in general, such concern will only happen when it is demanded by law or can be seen as positive by the consumers, working as marketing of sorts. Otherwise, it means more spending and therefore is simply not viable to them.

Nice post, do you think the article can be found online?

Posted by pekoe212

This reminds me of a National Geographic article I read on electronic waste. It's no surprise all our unwanted, outdated tech gets shunted to other continents with few regulations where items are resold, or melted down in unsafe ways by children and whatnot. But man, will those pictures stay with me. When you think about how disposable lots of our tech is considered today--especially smart phones, tablets etc., with some people purchasing each newest model as it comes out, the amount of discarded trash is...well, appalling really.

Posted by codyanne

My opinion is that we should all use common sense in everything to reduce our amount of energy consumption - not just for the environment, but for our pockets!  


@mfpantst, @styl3s, try not just turning off your consoles etc., but connecting everything to a power strip & unplugging/cutting the power on the power strip when you go to bed.  Your wallets will thank you!

As far as being green in general - well, again we should all respect the environment that we're in, but I don't think it's something we should all obsess over.  Sure, some habits should be changed that have a negative impact on the environment (litterbugs, I'm talking to you) but the "smaller" habits (like leaving everything plugged in, even if it's off) don't seem to have much impact until you tally it all collectively.  Microwaves, toasters, televisions, computers, the A/C - if you unplugged everything in your home when you aren't using it, you would do yourself & the environment a favor.  If you're A-OK with shelling out the extra money to have your electronics & appliances always-on, then good for you, but oftentimes, when you're doing the environment a favor, you're doing yourself a favor, too.

Some have said that recycling is worse for the environment than just land-filling everything - Penn & Teller did an episode of their show Bullsh*t! about recycling - available on DVD on Netflix (Disc 2 of Season 2) or you can try to find it online.  It's interesting - the description for the episode is:

Here's the truth: recycling is garbage. The recycling industry creates pollution, has to be subsidized by the government because it's cost ineffective, and is completely unnecessary. Contrary to popular belief, our landfills are not running out of space — we have enough room to last for thousands of years! So how did the bullshit of recycling get started?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I recycle, and I don't throw out my old electronics. Therefore, my greenergy is pretty much at max already. Also, my consoles are connected to a power brick that keeps them unpowered until the TV is actually on, so I guess that reduces power drain pretty significantly. I dunno, the flipside to this green stuff is that new Xbox 360 game cases suck now and one could theoretically make some pretty serious punctures (and subsequently scratches) if a sharp object was in the same bag or something.

Posted by animateria

Every time a cut a tree in Minecraft, I plant two.


I think that's pretty damn green of me.


On a serious note, I wonder how much impact all different kinds of manufactured goods have compared to each other.

Cars, microwaves, televisions etc. 
Posted by PrivateIronTFU
@TehFlan said:
@PrivateIronTFU said:
Most recycling is total bullshit. It wastes more energy to recycle than it does just to dump everything in a landfill.
Filling up landfills is bad for an entirely different reason, duder.
It's not really as bad as you'd think.
Posted by TehFlan
@PrivateIronTFU said:
Most recycling is total bullshit. It wastes more energy to recycle than it does just to dump everything in a landfill.
Filling up landfills is bad for an entirely different reason, duder.
Posted by PrivateIronTFU

Most recycling is total bullshit. It wastes more energy to recycle than it does just to dump everything in a landfill.


And I wouldn't mind those eco-boxes so much, if every game had box art as thick as the Grand Theft Auto box art. But I guess that would defeat the purpose of the eco-boxes. Which is total bullshit. Every time I get a game with an eco-box, I'm always afraid I'm going to poke a hole right through it.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman:

But what other way is there to destroy humanity?
Posted by EpicSteve

"Going green" always sounds great. However, it's typically something that's impossible for me to care about. I worry about the electric bill, not the trees.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@Video_Game_King said:
@JJWeatherman: How does burning the console in a pyre poison the oceans?
I assumed viking funerals consisted of sending them out to sea on a burning boat. Perhaps I was thinking of something else, but this is getting off-topic fast.

Any kind of burning would result in the same kind of air pollution that already is happening though. Although it would be pretty badass.
Posted by Enigma777
@JJWeatherman Well, it's not like I hate the planet. I just love myself more, so when it asks me to make sacrifices, I aint exactly too happy. I recycle. That should be enough.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman:

How does burning the console in a pyre poison the oceans?
Posted by JJWeatherman
@Video_Game_King said:
@JJWeatherman: You still don't throw that shit out. You show it the respect it deserves with a Viking funeral.
Now you're suggesting poisoning the oceans.  =P
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman:

You still don't throw that shit out. You show it the respect it deserves with a Viking funeral.
Posted by JJWeatherman
@Video_Game_King said:
@JJWeatherman said:
Beyond the energy resources it takes to manufacture consoles, there are then chemicals inside the consoles that are potentially very harmful to the environment if the consoles aren’t properly disposed of. 
Who the hell throws out their consoles? I wish to punish these people severely.
Well, you know, eventually. Or if they break prematurely.
Posted by JJWeatherman
@melcene said:
Honestly the whole green movement just bothers the heck out of me.  I don't have anything against recycling, saving the planet, etc.  But the green movement, in and of itself, is a bunch of crap.  You're right, it's supposed to raise awareness, and it does.  But is it supposed to also make us feel bad because our gaming is leaving some footprint that we can't diminish?  I'd like to think that the only reason this article got into GI is because somebody important somewhere said "You guys really should have something about the environment in your magazine," and not because the GI staff couldn't find something better to fill those pages.

I'm being overly/unnecessarily mean about this.  But you hit it on the head in your original post - the word green has become so overused, that it just immediately sets me off. :(
I don't think it's an article necessarily written with the intention of making people feel bad. It's just kind of a hot issue (as it should be imo) that people would likely be interested in. There's a lot of talk about going green in other fields, but the video game field is one that I haven't seen talked about much before. At least outside of the eco-cases and getting rid of game manuals.

In my opinion, you should pick your battles and reserve that anger for things that are actually worthy of it. While the initiative to save our planet may annoy you, it's really not something you should actively dislike. Good intentions and all of that. At least that's my view.

I'm not the most "green" person myself, but I try.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman said:
Beyond the energy resources it takes to manufacture consoles, there are then chemicals inside the consoles that are potentially very harmful to the environment if the consoles aren’t properly disposed of. 
Who the hell throws out their consoles? I wish to punish these people severely.
Posted by StrikeALight

I try and do my bit. I use my 10" netbook for browsing and daily stuff, and only switch on the desktop for my gaming fix.

Posted by melcene

Honestly the whole green movement just bothers the heck out of me.  I don't have anything against recycling, saving the planet, etc.  But the green movement, in and of itself, is a bunch of crap.  You're right, it's supposed to raise awareness, and it does.  But is it supposed to also make us feel bad because our gaming is leaving some footprint that we can't diminish?  I'd like to think that the only reason this article got into GI is because somebody important somewhere said "You guys really should have something about the environment in your magazine," and not because the GI staff couldn't find something better to fill those pages.


I'm being overly/unnecessarily mean about this.  But you hit it on the head in your original post - the word green has become so overused, that it just immediately sets me off. :(
Posted by HydraHam

I don't leave anything on when im not home, when im home i almost always have my laptop plugged in 24/7 on but in some mode with the lid closed when im not using it.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@melcene said:
So... they wrote a whole article on how the most non-green thing about video games is the manufacture of consoles/pc's, and that there's pretty much nothing that the average person can do about it?   I'm trying to figure out why this warranted an article.  Did Al Gore write to GI and tell them they weren't green enough?

/shakes head

Look, I recycle all my cardboard, paper, plastic, glass.  I make use of my yard waste bin.  I turn off lights and electronics and whatnot when they're not being used.  Hell, my dogs even fertilize my front lawn for me.  But I do believe that there are people that take the green thing too far.  This article is an example of that.
I don't see how this is taking the green ting too far. What about it do you think's going too far? It's just supposed to raise awareness to how video games are impacting the environment. I think it does that. It also encourages people to let their voices be heard, which is probably one of the better things you could do.

It's a video game magazine. It's a story about video games and the environment. What more do you expect?  :)
Posted by JJWeatherman
@Daveyo520 said:
Sorry JJ, that is sooo long.
Read!  :)

@Enigma777 said:
The "green" movement brought us lead-free solder which makes our game consoles break a lot more often (see 3RL and YLOD) and Eco-cases which are just shit for more reasons than I care to describe. I say fuck the planet! 
Aww, you don't love the planet? But the planet loves you! I don't particularly love the eco-boxes either, but it's the lack of manuals that really annoys me. Ah well.
Posted by melcene

So... they wrote a whole article on how the most non-green thing about video games is the manufacture of consoles/pc's, and that there's pretty much nothing that the average person can do about it?   I'm trying to figure out why this warranted an article.  Did Al Gore write to GI and tell them they weren't green enough?


/shakes head

Look, I recycle all my cardboard, paper, plastic, glass.  I make use of my yard waste bin.  I turn off lights and electronics and whatnot when they're not being used.  Hell, my dogs even fertilize my front lawn for me.  But I do believe that there are people that take the green thing too far.  This article is an example of that.
Posted by Enigma777

The "green" movement brought us lead-free solder which makes our game consoles break a lot more often (see 3RL and YLOD) and Eco-cases which are just shit for more reasons than I care to describe. I say fuck the planet! 

Posted by Kyreo
@mfpantst said:
I don't leave my stuff on when I'm not using it.  Not even my computer (though sometimes it will be on for a whole day if I use it on and off)  But it always goes off overnight and when I leave for work.  That's about it.
Yep.  I turn absolutely everything off, disconnect it, and leave it alone after every time I am done using it.  
Posted by Daveyo520

Sorry JJ, that is sooo long.

Edited by JJWeatherman
@mfpantst: Better than nothing!

@Mento: Ah, see I don't have that problem... yet. But hey, killing two birds with one stone is never a bad idea. Saving money's definitely a great motivator.

 And yeah, there are generally lots of electronic waste facilities you can take your things to, but I'd imagine in less wealthy parts of the world, that's a lot more rare. they're not even super prominent where I live, which is considered to be a fairly green and hippie place to live. *shrug*
Posted by Mento

I leave the PC on overnight (not the monitor), and the TV on standby, but that's usually it as far as being too wasteful. Things are unplugged usually just so I don't worry about it overloading the strip or something. Hate to say it, but when you're a 20-something with limited income you do most power-saving things out of a sense of frugality rather than environmental conservation (though I suppose the end result is the same either way).

I'm pretty sure electrical equipment like TVs and computers have various recycling options at one's local dump. As well as harmful chemicals, circuit boards tend to be full of valuable materials that can be used again elsewhere. I mean, you could always take the classic route of taking an insolent printer out into a field and smashing it to pieces with baseball bats and drop kicks, but most people should make the effort to drop them off at an official council-run dump of some kind.

Moderator
Posted by mfpantst

I don't leave my stuff on when I'm not using it.  Not even my computer (though sometimes it will be on for a whole day if I use it on and off)  But it always goes off overnight and when I leave for work.  That's about it.

Posted by JJWeatherman

I was just reading an article in the latest issue of Game Informer that was a bit interesting. The article is called Green Gaming, and it’s of course about the effects of gaming on the environment and how we can reduce the impact. The whole “Green” thing is admittedly an overused term at this point, and it’s often seen everywhere. You can always count on someone to write an article about “going green” in relation to almost any topic. My house is probably a bit more green-focused than most though. My dad works at the Oregon Zoo and a good portion of his job has been to run their “Green Team”, or something like that. So we recycle everything, compost, buy organic foods, whatever else. Anyway, I’m always hearing about making things more green and helping the environment, so this article caught my eye.


The article goes into how there are two main ways that video games affect the environment. The first is the power that’s drawn from the console itself when turned on and playing games as well as when in standby mode. That’s an issue, but the real problem is in the manufacturing process. “It has been found that between 60 and 80 percent of a desktop or laptop PC’s cumulative energy demand is associated with the manufacturing process.” It seems like common knowledge that manufacturing a PC would be similar to manufacturing a game console, especially in this day and age. Beyond the energy resources it takes to manufacture consoles, there are then chemicals inside the consoles that are potentially very harmful to the environment if the consoles aren’t properly disposed of. Casey Harrell of Greenpeace points out that while electronics waste isn’t the most immediately dangerous type of waste, it’s still “the largest amount of hazardous waste in the world.” The article then points out that things are made worse by the fact that a lot of communities don’t have proper means to dispose of these wastes, and a lot of electronics waste are sent to Africa, Asia, or South America, where it’s then burned. You don’t need to be a scientist to know that that’s probably a bad idea.

According to Casey Harrell though, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that we individuals can do. He thinks this needs to be addressed at the manufacturing level. The article then goes into how environmentally friendly each of the console manufacturers are. Sony ranks highest--in the four out of ten range--while Nintendo and Microsoft are both rated terribly. This is admittedly a flawed ranking system though, as Nintendo specifically refuses to disclose some of their specific manufacturing processes. Also, Sony’s rating is based on a larger division than just consoles. The article says that if just Sony’s console manufacturing was being measured, it would line up a lot closer with Microsoft and Nintendo. The manufacturing process simply needs to become more efficient and less damaging. I’m sure multi-billion dollar companies could make that happen if they really wanted to.

While the manufacturing process does account for most of the negative environmental impact, there are things that we can do to make a difference as well. According to Casey Harrell’s “super rough” estimate, if every game device purchased in 2009 was unplugged for 8 hours a day, it would eliminate “roughly the same amount of CO2 green-house gas emissions as taking 13,000 vehicles off the road for one year.” The biggest thing we can do according to Casey is letting the companies know that we care about more environmentally-friendly practices. To wrap up, it’s recommended to just be sensible and consume less. “Buy less, use less, waste less.” 

There’s then a side-bar that talks about a Green Gaming Hour that was started by some high school students. The idea behind it is to turn off all of the electronics in your house except for one room where you and your family would then gather to play some video games for an hour. It’s an interesting take on the “turn everything off” thing that’s become so popular in recent years, and I kind like the idea. I don’t know if my family would go for the idea, but maybe someone’s will.

I thought all of that was pretty interesting though. Especially the part about unplugging every console sold in 2009 for 8 hours a day and the impact that alone could have. That actually makes it seem like we could make a difference. My problem is that I always think that I’m only one person and I can’t make a difference. I know that that’s the wrong way to think, but I’m sure tons of people think the same way. It’s tough to be motivated to do anything small like unplugging a console when you’ll likely never see any benefit in it. All you’ll ever notice is your task of having to go out of your way to plug in and unplug the console all of the time. It’s a culture change thing though, and I think people will eventually start to come around and save energy; it’ll just take a while. I’m still working on it myself.

Anyway, it wasn’t really my plan to summarize the entire article, but, well, there it is. What do you guys think of the environmental impact of gaming? Do you feel bad about it? Do you ever do anything to green up your gaming? Are you going to write a letter to your console manufacturer of choice and explain why they should work on becoming more green?

What's the GB opinion on all of this?