Smart Consumption in the Mediterranean

» Technology, energy and water

Keep this in mind!

Today we are surrounded by electrical and electronic devices. Although there is no doubt about the usefulness of some of these devices, it is important to examine our need for so much technology and the way in which we use it: mobile phones, batteries, computers, e-books, position finding systems, kitchen gadgets, electrical appliances, light bulbs, etc. Do we really need to use so many of these things so often?

One of the main effects of so much ‘technification’ in our everyday lives is an increase in energy consumption and in some cases water consumption (although water consumption merits a section of its own). In this section we therefore suggest ways to reduce energy and water consumption.

Some questions we can ask ourselves:

1

Is so much technology really necessary to meet my needs?

What do I gain and what do I lose by being permanently in touch with the world via my mobile phone? Why have I accumulated so many gadgets for the kitchen and the home that I hardly ever use? Is the temperature of the house right? Do I spend too long in the shower? Do I waste water and energy in the kitchen?

Social pressure often leads us to get a new mobile phone or computer when we don’t really need one, or to fill the kitchen with gadgets we soon stop using. We need to be aware of what we really need.

2

Can I save resources by sharing or reusing them?

Have I considered ignoring the offers of new mobile phones and asking my friends if they have a second-hand one they could give me? Is there a second-hand electrical goods shop near my home? Can I share equipment and tools with my neighbours?

Instead of constantly replacing things and accumulating them, we can look for second-hand goods and share certain domestic appliances (see Collaborative consumption). All these steps will help us to save energy.

3

If I have to buy a new product or pay for a new service, what lies behind the production process and which company am I giving my money to?

How energy efficient is the item I want to buy (in some cases there are labels that indicate this)? Can I buy renewable energy in the power market?

The world of technology involves a very large and varied range of companies (as varied as the different types of technology). As a rule it is difficult to know where items are produced (production is globalised) and the role played by the company putting its brand on them. We normally have to choose the ‘least bad’ option.

4

Do I use technology correctly so that it will last as long as possible?

In spite of planned obsolescence, we can use the technology around us in a way that maximises its useful life. In spite of the apparent difficulty, we can try to repair some appliances ourselves. It is surprisingly easy to find information to help us to do this.