I hear a lot about how geeks adversely impact the environment. With our power-sucking computers, toxic game consoles, and general disinterest in the outdoors. But I'm here, today, to tell you that that's bunk. Geeks are greener than the average American, and it's time to point out why.
So we're starting a new series entitled "Why Geeks are Greener." And this is our first installment.
Video games, if you pay attention to the traditional green establishment, are the anti-christ. Not only do they gobble up power, they keep our kids from being at one with nature. And if kids can't be at one with nature, why will the protect it!?
Well folks, I'm here today to tell you that gaming is good for the environment. Whether you are right now experiencing shock, cynicism or relief, you'll want to read the following list of why games are green.
- Children don't need boyscouts to care about global warming. I will fully admit to have been affected greatly in my experiences in the outdoors. But saying that caring about the environment is dependent on experiencing nature is like saying that caring about sex is dependent upon talking to girls. Just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean you don't want to do all you can to protect your chances at having a healthy future with it. Protecting nature isn't about loving nature anymore, it's about liking the idea of life continuing on the planet.
- Gaming isn't that power intensive. Depending on what kind of system you have, your console might draw as much power as a CFL, or an incandescent lightbulb. Yes, the Wii is far more efficient than the XBox 360, but even the 360 only pulls a maximum of 150 watts. It's just not that much power, especially because neither pull much power at all when they're off. And the act of gaming itself, it turns out, is quite good for the environment.
- Gaming keeps you out of the environment, and thus protects it. If every gamer decided to be a skier, air travel rates would skyrocket, new ski mountains would be developed, and millions more people would all fly or drive thousands of miles per summer to get to their favorite destination. Instead, their favorite destination is the living room.
From there, we gamers get to have intense experiences and hang out with our friends who might live half the world away with only a tiny impact on the environment. It's a non-physical realm that allows for pseudo-physical experiences. And while traditional greens call that a replacement of the real world, I call it a protection of the real world.
- Games are economic drivers with very little physical presence. I'd guess that your average copy of Halo 3 contains about $2 of raw materials. But when it hit stores it was worth $60. Where does all that money go? Well, into the pockets of the thousands of people who worked to create it. Actors, programmers, modelers, QA testers, musicians, artists, and BFG designers.
So you get to employ thousands of people to produce a product that has a tiny environmental impact. And as the internet gets faster, the physical media is being eliminated from the process entirely.
- Computer gaming requires nothing physical at all. At various times throughout the day, my computer goes through a transition from workstation to gaming console. The result is that I don't need a gaming console at all, and I get to play games that I have never owned physical copies of. Aside from the 100 watts of power it pulls from the wall (far less carbon intensive than, say, a drive down to the nearest soccer pitch) I can play Fifa 08 with my wife.
I'm not getting any fitter, that's for certain, but the cost to the environment is virtually nonexistent.
There are, of course, ungreen things about gaming too. If you do it on a 42 inch plasma-screen HDTV, for example, you're going overboard. And running out to buy the new console as soon as it comes out isn't a very green policy, especially since Super Mario Bros. remains as fun today as it was in 1987. And the NES, I'll add, is a very green machine.
But be secure in knowing that your ultra-green friends who drive into the wilderness to have their experiences have no right to scoff at the ways in which you have your experiences.