Questions for “Greening your digital life”

a girl playing video games

Gaming computers devour six times as much energy as regular computers. But if gaming is your favorite hobby, don’t feel guilty. You can learn how to use your favorite gaming device more efficiently.

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To accompany feature “Greening your digital life


Before Reading:

1. In a typical day, what electronics do you use? (These might include computers, phones, tablets, smart watches, televisions, smart appliances and more.) How much total time in a day do you spend using such devices?

2. What are some of the different activities you do with digital devices (phone calls, texting, watching videos, internet, gaming, etc.)? Which activity do you think takes the most electricity? Why? Which might take the least, and why?

During Reading:

1.  What was Nathaniel Mills’ goal when upgrading his gaming computer in 2014?

2.  What are four ways that the production and use of digital devices consume electricity?

3.  How does a digital lifestyle contribute to climate change?

4.  What use of a personal computer is the most energy intensive? Why does this activity use so much energy?

5.  If you play video games, what are three behavioral changes you can make to use less energy?

6.  Why does a wireless connection to the internet use more energy than a cable?

7.  How does cloud computing increase energy demand?

8.  Why does working online use more energy than working offline? How big is that difference, according to a study by Kerry Hinton and his team?

9.  What is one reason that an average “smart” home uses more energy than a regular home?

10. Do experts like Kerry Hinton think that improving the energy efficiency of new technology can offset rising use of that technology? Why or why not?

After Reading:

1.  Think back to the digital activities you described in the “Before Reading” questions. What are two changes you can make that will reduce your digital energy use?

2.  The story describes how the energy demands of digital devices are linked to climate change. Think about global populations. Which groups of people can benefit most from new devices and capabilities? Which groups of people are harmed most by the climate effects of these devices? Are they the same? Why or why not?