Thoughtful yet ironic statement
"Unless people can get a clear idea of the overall impact of their digital world, then the cost to the planet will remain forever obscured.
It is ironic that you end an environmental awareness story with such a phrase, for in our capitalist societies we have almost never had an idea, or been charged for, the overall impact of our living.
For example, in the United States, let us take the lessons of Niagara Falls, New York's, Love Canal. Hooker Chemical manufactured, and sold, chemicals for decades from this plant and made a modest profit. After closure of the plant, a toxic waste site of the company's design was discovered on the site, one of the most contaminated locales in all of the United States. It has cost the taxpayers of the United States $400 million dollars for the cleanup of the site, money that neither Hooker Chemical, nor the customers of its products, ever paid in to. The new owners of Hooker, Occidental Petroleum, did have to pay, only $129 million...and it STILL cost the taxpayers millions in legal fees to forward the lawsuit that brought about that verdict, decades after Hooker itself was out of business.
Corporations sell pencils for, what $0.02 or so each? Does that take into account the toxic waste of caused by the production waste, the (full) environmental impact of the logging industry (which most of you are unawares; I, on the other hand, have been to both logging forests and wood processing plants O.O ), the processing and waste of creating the graphite sticks, and every other part of the production chain?
No, we don't, do we? We only pay the "up front" costs - the cost of the materials used to create the supply materials used in manufacturing, like gasoline for the trucks, etc. We simply don't factor long-term costs, like water treatments and cleanups into our products, mostly because we treat them as "Out of sight, Out of mind".
This HAS to change (as China is quickly realizing) or we'll all pay a huge price in the future.