Over the past 50 years, the media consumption patterns, media channels as well as the entire media has drastically influenced the society and environment. Currently, there are vast arrays of TV channels, computers, and telephones in all shapes and sizes, newspapers with different colour prints, and social media that did not exist before. The list of new technical solutions and changes for the media can be very long when considering the production and consumption of media content. The media industry is a worldwide industry comprising of generation and distribution of content in internet portals, newspapers, radio, magazines, TV films, radio, and other related channels with entertainment and news sector (LeBel, 2012). Companies have worked over the years to ensure that they position themselves on the ongoing changes within the society to find a better position in the new media landscape.
Environmental Impact of Media Technologies
The media of the United States consist of various types of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and internet based sites. The expansion of technology in the United States has set off the revolution of media encompassing radio, newspapers and television. A constant introduction of new technology, changing media consumption, increased mobility, and advertising patterns have shifted the media industry radically the United States. The media industry has been affected by digital innovation in all aspects of production, distribution, storage, and patterns of use by consumers. The digitalization of content has affected the operation of media companies and the environmental aspects of media consumption in United States. Electronic devices that are used in media technologies consume a lot of energy. The high energy-consuming technological devices have led to an increased usage of energy due to energy demand and resource usage (LeBel, 2012). For instance, in the media workplace, computers consume a significant amount of energy. Electronic waste is a growing environmental challenge since the amount of e-waste produced from communication technologies is growing every year (Richard and Toby, 2012). E-waste comprises communication and information technology devices such as mobile phones, computers, screens, and all electronic equipment that have been discarded without recycling processes. Communication technologies have produced e-toxic waste, which contributes a lot of harm to the environment through the land, water, and air pollution when they are disposed of (Richard and Toby, 2012). Only a small percentage of technological devices are disposed of properly. Ideally, phones, computers, and other digital devices are increasingly being made and thrown away, which is bad for both the environment and consumers. The increased usage of electronic devices has had major environmental effects. First, it has increased the mining of materials that are needed for the manufacture of electronic gadgets. Second, discarding of the devices has produced large quantities of electronic waste (LeBel, 2012). Electronic devices generate waste, but the waste is not discarded, increasing the quantity of waste over the years.
Media and communication technologies have partially contributed to a sustainable and favourable environment. Rather than going through the basic process of relying on papers as a form of communication and presenting work, instant messaging through mobiles and computers have helped make a huge difference in reducing paper usage. This has been essential in eliminating carbon footprint and saving trees. Despite the fact that media technologies can consume a lot of energy, various devices have advanced power management systems such as laptops, which use less amount of energy. The media has covered the environment showing how natural attractiveness, animal, and human wellbeing are impacted by manufacturing, mining as well as the increased threat of climate alteration. However, it has been discovered that metals being used in media technologies for telephones and televisions have increased over the years. These include cobalt, aluminum, copper, and other metals. Media production and technologies have accounted for three percent of greenhouse emissions (Suckling and Lee, 2015). From the digitalization of media, the media has formed and generated hazardous materials that have brought about multi-generational for workers and ecosystems. For instance, inks, solvents, wastewater, dust as well as fumes have been results of printing papers over the years. They are producing and installing batteries exposing employees to pathogens such as lead, which are damaging to lungs, skin as well as the nervous system. Such illnesses have made the battery workforce to be at most risk of lead poisoning. The usage of plastics to generate communication and media technologies has exposed humans to hydrochloric acid and carcinogenic dioxin in the environment causing kidney, liver, and stomach cancer.
To reduce the amount of e-toxic waste, there is a need for a technology equipment disposal policy. Communication technologies contain parts that cannot be discarded away into landfills. Proper disposal of this equipment is essential to create an environmentally friendly technology. When the media devices have reached their end-use, they should be sent to the equipment disposal team to ensure proper disposal (Richard and Toby, 2012). The team will securely delete the storage mediums following the best practices for the industry. There are no computers, screens, or phones that should be disposed of through landfills dumps, or through skips. Electronic recycle bins need to be placed in various locations around the company to ensure proper disposal.
An upgrade and resell policy should be implemented to ensure the upgrade of products rather than disposing of them. While media companies are upgrading to the new technology, they have failed to consider reselling and upgrading of the devices rather than just dropping the used phone and other devices outside their homes. Through upgrades, electronics will last as long as they did. Considerably, technology is becoming more integrated with sensors and semi-conductors being added to the product than never before, thus making wearable devices with short term lifespan (Richard and Toby, 2012). Many media technological devices are being thrown away once the battery dies. To reduce the amount of e-waste, the manufacturers need to design phones, computers, and other media electronics that are durable, recyclable, safer, and repairable (Richard and Toby, 2012). Significantly, this means using less toxic materials. In addition to recycling processes, the user needs to be able to re-use and repair the devices that they have. The recycling and re-use policy will facilitate better handling of e-waste as well as proper disposal. Companies should focus on collecting obsolete products and increasing their recycling and upgrade efforts. For instance, customers can trade a current phone device or upgrade to another at Amazon, Costco, or Walmart rather than disposing of them. Dead batteries should be treated as toxic waste since they can explode when re-used. Since they contain harmful chemicals that negatively affect the earth and human health, it is recommendable to dispose of them at recycling locations.
Contribution of media through driving advertising and consumer cultures
Media has played a major role in ensuring that product advertising is successful. For instance, social media is made up of websites that enable users to share and create content across internet users. Nowadays, any service or new product is linked with media in a way since it is easier to acquire useful information about a product or service. Advertising media has been used to showcase promotional content that is passed to consumers through various forms such as images, texts, and videos using TVs, online, and radio. Ideally, these are channels that have been used in promoting products. A customer can’t know about the products being offered by every brand without effective advertising. The media has played a great role in helping companies reach consumers and showcase their services and product utilities to consumers. Advertising has been used over the years to influence the behavior of consumers. The consumer society has been saturated by media and digital technology, which are increasingly transforming consumer behavior. Digital devices have played a significant role in influence consumers to buy certain products.
The problem is that e-waste is being promoted by changing consumer culture and advertising. Technological changes producing new and improved products are stimulating steady consumption as well as the disposal of old devices. The media has created a platform for digital devices companies to communicate to the consumers about the new products, thus generating huge amounts of e-waste and depletion problems. For instance, social media or the content that is spread on social media has the ability to make individuals act in a certain way that will encourage consumers and influence, other consumers, about a new or improved product. The growing demand for new digital media devices has been created by advertising as consumers are aware of the new and improved products. As a result, they decide to dispose of old devices to acquire new devices.
Advertising has created a consumer culture whereby consumer behaviours are greatly influenced by the media content offered. For instance, product replacement has created great environmental challenges. This is because consumers are aware of the new and improved design features. The changes in technology often make it hard for the consumer to avoid replacement. They want to acquire some better and functional digital devices with better features as compared to the older ones. Thus, advertising has created confronting forced that have driven the purchasing decisions of consumers. This is because consumers believe that new technologies have been integrated into new processes and perform absolutely better. This has been critical in lowering e-waste since the rapid changes in technology create a situation where consumers are increasing the quantity of electronic waste equipment, which is still functional. The way these new products are being advertised can limit the upgrading and foster product replacement
Media as a platform to challenge these dangerous environmental practices
The media can serve as a platform to challenge the dangerous environmental practices caused by these digital devices. Media is considered as the communication channel through which education data, news, and promotional messages are disseminated (Sypsas et al., 2015). Media is the most reliable way of passing information to many individuals as possible. The media has been used to convince individuals to come together in achieving a common goal. Therefore, the media has been a great influential power to mobilize actions that will resolve these environmental problems. The promotion of environmentally friendly behaviours needs to be communicated on environment linked issues (Kushwaha, 2015). To offer essential information concerning the promotion of environmental protection, media has offered platforms to create awareness.
Media has held a significant part in promoting environmental consciousness and protection. The role of media is essential in influencing the public consciousness on global climate alteration and linked activities. Media stories have exposed environmental and health harm that is caused by electronic waste. Different media channels have been used to answer the question of e-waste recycling and disposal. Traditionally, the radio, television, and newspapers held a role in spreading consciousness and environmental protection information to the public. Ideally, communication is significant in how people come to know about the environment and major environmental issues. Thus communication media is a central public arena by which individuals are made aware of environmental issues and how they are contested, addressed, and resolved.
The media has the mandate of informing and educating the audience on strategies for environmental protection through its capacity to reach out to the opinion leaders and decision-makers in society. For instance, decision-makers and opinion leaders subscribe to television channels and newspapers, which are their favourite channels for news. Through involving positive behaviour geared towards a sustainable environment, the leaders accountable for any decisions will be engaged. The media can collect information from different sources concerning the national records and planning records on local and national environmental matters (Sypsas et al., 2015). Through gathering factual environmental accounts as well as inviting the opinion leaders and public for policy discussions, the media will become effective in ensuring that the environment is protected.
With the growth of technology, users are relying on web-based applications to gather useful information. Thus, social media has been used to create awareness and spread information on environment issues by environment protection related posts, fan pages, and green blogging. Electronic communication has played a big role in promoting environmental protection and conservation actions by users. For instance, many users have relied on social media to share real-time photos and videos on a variety of environmental issues such as landfills, illegal dumping of electronic devices (Kaur and Chahal, 2018). This leads to awareness and increases the attention among the audience, inspiring environment protection through messages on responsible behaviour. The media passes educative information to the public through various means such as electronic devices, magazines, televisions, and newspapers. The media will create environmental initiatives and help mitigate environmental effects to have a sustainable and healthy environment.
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