A green Moore's law? The Story of Electronics

Moore’s law, the idea that computing power should double every eighteen months, may be the ultimate sign of progress for a techie… and there’s no doubt that much good has come from our ability to process more amounts of information faster. But what’s the environmental cost of this progress? Annie Leonard deals with that question in the latest video from The Story of Stuff Project: “The Story of Electronics.”

Leonard brings in Moore’s Law because she believes that the progress of chip efficiency and power has been perverted by electronics manufacturers: if a company can release more powerful gadgets on the 18 month-2 year time frame, why bother making products that last? This mindset, according to Leonard, is responsible for the 25 million tons of e-waste we produce each year… much of which is toxic, and destined either for the landfill or “recycling” companies in the developing world.

Leonard’s not anti-electronics (just as she’s not “anti-stuff”); she just thinks there are better ways to harness that ever-increasing computing power. The new video discusses product take-back as a concept that could disrupt the mindset of “design for the dump,” and push eco-friendly innovation within the electronics industry.

As with the previous Story of Stuff videos, Leonard minces few words, but also make lifecycle analysis accessible. I was sorry to see that she didn’t mention business models like the product service system… but that’s a minor oversight in an otherwise informative and entertaining video.

Yep, that’s the new video above… check it out, and let us know what you think.