Far from being a total drain on our planet, mobile phones actually have some important environmental benefits.
We all know about the environmental impact the production of mobile phones has on the planet and the same for smartphone disposal. but let’s drop into the slow lane for a minute and think of the energy we actually save by using mobile phones.
Reduced Car Traffic
One aspect of our lives that mobile phones save on resources is when we run errands. In the past, we may have dropped by the shops on the way home from work, or gone on shopping trips to pick up a few things. Before the mobile telephone, we may have brought home what we thought was a complete list of items, only to find we’d forgotten something.
Nowadays, we can get a call from a family member to say ‘can you pick up some beans on your way home?’ in countries or specific locations where using a car is essential, the ability to get in contact with someone instantly saves them returning home, then needing to pop back out to the shops. We know short car journeys are most damaging to the environment, so preventing these kind of journeys is a boost to the environment.
Fewer journeys also means fewer cars on the road.
Fewer Long Distance Journeys
Instead of jumping in a car to drive hundreds of miles, or hopping on a plane every year to see loved ones, we can use mobile phones instead. Okay, so we may not nix seeing our relatives completely, but at least we can stay in touch more often in a more meaningful way.
The smartphone allows us to FaceTime or Skype relatives and actually see them. On the long-haul flight side of things, the effect on our behaviour will be smaller, since it’s not like most of us can afford more than one long-haul flight per year. Where a smartphone really helps change behaviour is when the distances are shorter, say up to 300 miles. Short enough that we could attempt driving them. Up to around 100 miles, being able to jump on a quick call means we won’t be jumping in that car!
So there you have it. The humble smartphone does have some environmental benefits. The question now is do those benefits outweigh the negatives?