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Programming and the fight against climate change

jcalixte profile image Julien Calixte ・1 min read

I've been programming for 5 years and I've never worked directly in a project with a clear goal like to lower our carbon footprint even if this is a question I'm asking myself everyday to improve the situation. The only thing that comes close is that I'm currently developing a web app for a French company to limit paper documents on their parts repair.

In the meantime, our domain has a footprint exceeding air travel.

So, in my case, this is obviously not enough in a larger scale. I need to do a lot more. So I was wondering what do you do in your workday to improve the climate situation? Do you work in the climate field? Is the Earth a concern in your every day business?

Finally, in general, do you think, as a developer, we can have a positive impact on this global warming?

Discussion

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ardennl profile image
Arden de Raaij

I'm not going to lie to you, consciously I do absolutely nothing. I guess eating vegetarian most of the time is good, also I don't own a car, nor much of anything really. I don't consume a lot of products so I've got that going for me. All of this is massively offset by the amounts of times I fly and travel, so I can't really say that I contribute to a cleaner world. When you think about it, conference speakers might be some of the most polluting people in our field.

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jcalixte profile image
Julien Calixte Author

Haha, that's right about speakers!
I think the problematic is all in compromise. If the dev community is helping more in saving the deforestation for instance than in polluting with the resource it requires then I'm ok with that like I'm ok with conference speakers who can have, in overall, a positive impact for the Earth.

Does the dev community have a good impact on climate change ? I don't know but I believe we can!

Thanks for your answer! :-)

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howlingwerewolf profile image
HowlingWerewolf

I'm also curious how we could do something against the climate change, this is how I found this topic just now:)

Several ideas came to my mind. First of all, we can write efficient, optimized code. Yes, it will have impact on climate change directly. Think about it: your code will run somewhere, which consumes energy. Let's say your method runs frequently. If you optimize, this could mean less energy used.
Secondly, you can convince your environment, your workplace, to raise voice against CO2 emissions. The more people say it, the more pressure it is. Pressure on governments and opposing parties to be concerned with this question. You may be surprised, how many people will be interested! Advertising this problem is mandatory, also giving tips, what could an individual do against CO2 emission.
Thirdly, you can learn efficient programming technologies, which is more related to my first point though.

Anyway, if you know projects that directly have impact on climate change, I'd be happy to help!

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Ben Halpern

Great topic. One thing I'm trying to do is really educate myself on the environmental impact of bitcoin/blockchain. It's easy to say "yeah well compare it to something else and it doesn't seem so bad" but it's a concern no matter how you look at it and it's worth developing a deep understanding of.

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Julien Calixte Author

And we don't talk that much about this down side, it is all about the crazy intelligence behind and the speculation around.
The question is: can we afford a remarkable piece of engineering that is not viable for the planet?

Thank you for your answer :-)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

And one more question: Can we not think of decent for the environment as a pretty unmovable constraint in adoption of this kind of technology. Moving off of old standards is one thing, but we have a choice now for our future about this kind of thing.

We work with constraints all the time in software, and it's a great thing for problem solving. We lift the constraints and we stop caring.

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mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Yeah, Bitcoin is aweful for the environment. :(