Broadband internet allows us to reduce our carbon footprint in virtually every area of society, commerce, education and entertainment.
Far more than working from home instead of driving into an office; broadband has allowed manufacturer’s to order parts and materials from their suppliers as needed; it allows suppliers to more efficiently assemble and ship those parts; and broadband allows end users to get the finished product where it is needed and when.
Consumers shopping online save gasoline for themselves and saves the need for more roads and parking to and at malls. Some items, like books, music, and movies, need never be delivered in hard copy: They can be downloaded and stored in their electronic form.
According to the American Consumer Institute, “Online grocery shopping with home delivery service decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 18 to 87% compared to conventional grocery shopping.”
In addition, because one truck can deliver to many houses along a route, “eCommerce generates 36 percent less air pollutants and requires 16 percent less energy than conventional shopping.
A “smart grid” will utilize broadband to allow consumers and businesses to adjust everything from the lawn sprinkler to the water heater via smart phone or their desktop so resources we used to take for granted can be used much more thoughtfully.
Corporate travel has been reduced, minimizing the carbon footprint of airliners. Off-the-shelf on-line meeting software allows employees to attend virtual meetings at their desks with anyone around the world on an as needed basis, rather than the old days of video-conferencing centers which used satellites, dedicated facilities, and which cost as much as hopping on a plane.
Large and small retailers are using RFID and bar codes at the register to send re-order requests directly to suppliers’ warehouses. Those suppliers are picking and loading orders via hand held devices which tells the warehouse personnel how many of each item goes to which store, and in turn, pallets are loaded onto a truck based upon the most efficient routing as calculated by GPS and mapping software, transmitted via broadband.
Very few could have foreseen the range of activities we would be carrying out via broadband. Renewing a driver’s license or vehicle tags no longer require a dreaded visit to the DMV complete with the morning newspaper, several novels, and a bag lunch. It is easier for motorists and much more efficient for the state to have all that done online rather than having to drive to a state facility.
Energy efficient devices from light bulbs in home or commercial offices to lower power computers and printers are making broadband a leading player in energy efficiency.