Berthon, Pierre and DesAutels, Philip and Donnellan, Brian and Clark Williams, Cynthia
Green Digits: Towards an Ecology of IT Thinking.
The Oxford Handbook of Management Information Systems: Critical Perspectives and New Directions.
Oxford University Press, USA.
Green IT is a hot topic: to be glib, it has warmed in tandem with the planet. It is seen as a potent tool in the fight against global warming. However, despite the promise of technology to deliver planetary solutions, the employment of IT has been beset by a number of paradoxes. For example the „paperless office‟ was buried in paper; the clean world of high tech was built on piles of toxic waste; and educational laptops for the developing countries ended up as second or third netbooks for the wealthy. Sometimes IT has done more to compound problems than create sustainable solutions. However to date the discussion of Green IT has either focused at the level of information technology or at the level of information systems. In this chapter we explore Green IT by focusing on a third, and neglected level information technology: information views, or „ways of thinking’. We suggest that it is this ignored conceptual level that has, in part, contributed to the paradox of IT. Specifically we differentiate instrumental from emergent thinking about technology, and identify three paradigms of sustainability which suggest very different uses of information technology to achieve the goal of a viable planet.
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