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By Alexander Villafania
The effect of the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries can be likened to the effect of the information technology revolution today. It created new industries and new skills that changed the way people lived. Yet, both periods in history also had their share of negative impact: pollution.
The industrial revolution saw an increase in use of petroleum products and chemical compounds that seeped into the ground, polluting water and soil. IT industries, with the constant replacement of old equipment for better ones, is also causing a new generation of garbage and it could get worse as the demand for IT products continues growing.
Some companies have already taken steps to alleviate the problem of electronic waste. At the recently held IBM Service Management Summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Big Blue showcased one aspect where the company could help reduce problems caused by the IT industry. Although it was not widely promoted, the company released its "green strategy" paper aimed at its clients that are building their IT infrastructure. The paper is about 15 pages long and suggested several implementation strategies that clients and partners can take to tackle potential environmental solutions. The paper, ostensibly entitled "IBM Software: A Green Strategy for Your Entire Organization," was created in June 2008 as part of the company's campaign for its Tivoli software.
Some of the solutions provided are simple, manpower-related environmental austerity measures, which includes reducing commuting through increased online collaboration (IBM once preached about the effectiveness of having mobile workers), turning off lights when not in use, and reduction of paper consumption by using electronic forms instead. Other practices on an infrastructure scale that IBM is suggesting include optimization of hardware power consumption, shifting workloads from over-utilized servers to underutilized ones, proper cooling systems depending on the machine (some equipment fail when they come to their overheating points), and even properly managing digital data to enable quick access and reducing heat.
IBM also stressed in the paper several reasons why it is important for companies, from the smallest mom-and-pop shop to the largest conglomerates, to have a steady and focused environmental strategy. One particular issue of note is increased power consumption by IT equipment, and with the realization that prices of oil will continue to go higher, IBM stressed that their customers must take measures to reduce power consumption while running at full operational capacity.
John Frech, director for IBM Tivoli Worldwide sales strategy, said that having an environmental strategy to follow will have a positive impact not just on the environment but also on the company's operational capacity. He said their software products have been tested to allow for some energy-efficient operations, as well as maximizing the life of their equipment. He added that by giving office administrators all the tools they need to ensure full operational capacity, the company is saving on energy consumption and thus, the environment.IBM also dedicated a website specifically for their IT strategy. Other companies also have similar projects, among which includes Microsoft's Environmental Solutions, HP's Eco Solutions and Intel. This already shows how IT companies are taking responsibility for the potential impact of the IT industry on the environment and how companies like them can become leaders in saving the environment.
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Online Videos by Veoh.com MOP president Lim Chee Yong told reporters that the park, which will open in February this year, has been given strict limitations not to include protected species of marine flora and fauna, which includes wild corals, sea turtles and all marine mammals. The only time that the MOP can maintain such protected animals is if some caught specimens are unable to fend for themselves due to physical injury but otherwise, the MOP cannot keep such creatures. MOP will also hire marine sciences experts, mostly coming from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute. One expert is UP assistant professor of Environmental Science Benjamin Vallejo, who said the MOP can also serve as a research facility. Potential studies they could be conducting are human-assisted coral farming as well as testing the effects of global climate change on local species of coral. WWF vice chairman Jose Lorenzo Tan said the MOP is a good venue for informing the public regarding the importance of the country's marine ecosystems, as well as the dangers of disregarding it. While the MOP will only maintain up to 300 species of marine creatures, Tan said this number already represents the sea ecosystem of the Philippines. Tan said the WWF will continuously provide the MOP with the latest information on marine sciences and will collaborate with them on the educational materials to be developed for their environmental conservation drives. The MOP will initially open its oceanarium, a huge facility housing several water tanks. It will then build a park and a hotel after the opening. The entire facility will cost approximately P1 billion to build.
Online Videos by Veoh.com Dar stressed that the impending global climate change has changed the economies of many countries, especially those in the arid and semi-arid tropics of which the Philippines is included. He said that there are warning signs pointing toward food supply problems, storms, flooding and droughts that could adversely affect a nation's way of life. "Global climate change is already affecting everyone. We can't solve it but we can definitely reduce its effects on the people," Dar said. For one, he said the Philippines should increase its biofuel development programs. In which case, sweet sorghum and jatropha are prime products for creating bio-ethanol and bio-diesel. He said ICRISAT is already working with the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Agriculture to teach farmers how to increase production, as well as scientists in extracting the necessary materials for biofuel development from these plants. Dar also said sweet sorghum is also useful as a flood deterrent as it absorbs excess water from the ground, preventing it from loosening. During the dry season, sweet sorghum lasts much longer than most crops as it retains water. Dar noted that Filipino farmers should start changing their seasonal planting methods to accommodate other plants that can be sustained during the longer dry season. Plants such as peanuts retain moisture in the ground long enough for other plants to grow. Other moisture-retaining plants include pearl millet, pigeonpea and groundnut, all of which can also adapt to high temperatures. Dar said ICRISAT is getting enough support from the government in terms of promotion of ICRISAT's mandate to help farming communities and biofuel development. Aside from the DOST and DA, ICRISAT is also working with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, several state colleges and Universities, and the Department of Energy. Climate change has become a main subject of concern in the Philippines, especially with the onset of powerful storms and long dry spells. Government initiatives to alleviate the effects of global climate change in a local scale include developing new forms of energy sources, soil conservation implementation, among others.
Online Videos by Veoh.com Tron was the creation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and made his first appearance during the National Science and Technology Week in July this year. The comic book series is scheduled to be launched in January 2008, in time for the preparations for the DOST’s 50th anniversary. It is expected to be distributed in all public and private elementary schools nationwide. DOST signed up with publishing firm Mango Comics to create Tron’s comic book adventures. In an interview, Philippine Council for Health and Research Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya said the DOST and Mango Comics are in the process of building the storyboard for Tron’s comic book adventures, which will center on science education, as well as the size of the comic book. “The stories should bring out the best characteristics of Tron and kids should be able to empathize with him in the long run,” Montoya said. Montoya noted that the contents of the comics will be strictly monitored by the DOST and the Department of Education for factual accuracy. Montoya explained that comics is one of the most effective media for conveying concepts especially in science since it attracts the attention of children, is easily accessible and can be used all over again. Tron is mainly an android with human-like emotions. Montoya said the comic book will reveal his powers but basically, he has superhuman strength, the ability to fly (as stated in a short preview comic strip) and has the brain power of the world’s greatest minds, notably Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei, among others. The concept of Tron is aimed at creating a culture of science among schoolchildren.