You and I are using it right now. Information technology, particularly the Internet, has been a huge boom to environmental issues as well as many others. Using the web you can find, almost instantly, large numbers of people who share an interest or support a particular cause; those people can share information efficiently, transmit it to others and organize direct action. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have proven to be very powerful at this sort of thing. Scientists studying climate change can share data and findings and present them to the public and policymakers much more efficiently than in the pre-Internet era. Once an idea enters the stream of social awareness, it gains a lot of steam. Do a search for “carbon footprint calculator” on Google and you’ll bring up a great many websites that include such a calculator, usually free; some environmentally-conscious companies are even using them as advertising tools. Indeed, while scientists have been worried about global warming for decades, I think it’s no accident that widespread public awareness of it has occurred in the Internet age. Information technology may indeed be the most powerful tool against global warming, in the sense that it is the sharing of information about the threat that will provide the framework for the political and social consensus needed to seriously address it.
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