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Environmental Impact of E-Commerce

Sustainability Implications of the Information Economy. Working Paper by Jih Chang Yang

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01.06.2000 · Research Group on the Global Future


Technologies at the close of the 20 th century are a very different breed compared to technologies past, as they move inexorably toward the very core of fundamental knowledge – quantum mechanics driving semiconductors, nanotechnology driving materials and manufacturing, optics driving communications, genomics driving biotechnologies, etc. Significant advances nowadays are those made at the "bottom" – molecular and atomic levels. The results are an explosive growth of knowledge and the ways in which we use the newfound knowledge.

While new and rapidly advancing knowledge will be sure to become a dominant force shaping the future of mankind, experience tells us that advancing technology always bring side-effects. In the euphoria over the unprecedented opportunities brought on by the advent of the information economy, the tendencies are to overlook these side-effects, or simply to dismiss them so they wouldn’t spoil the fun. But they are there. Lets look at the environmental impact of e-commerce, for example.

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