Everything is industry going digital from shopping, learning, accounting and the list goes on. Even the smallest businesses are adapting ways to streamline their processes through technological upgrades. Going paperless makes less waste of natural resources, something we’ve embraced as a green conscious generation as the effects of global warming have become evident. Everything is at our fingertips, making work more efficient, documents more accessible, information easier to send and retrieve. Our older, paper methods were slower, required more room, more organization and did not offer all the possibilities available to us through the internet. While the newspaper, print and post offices have seen declines in business and struggle to survive, an environmental disaster is all it takes to realize that our traditional means of communication cannot be eliminated. Having experienced the fall out of Hurricane Sandy and having had to rely on newspapers and radio to get information, it’s evident that a society without traditional means of communication and paper could suffer extreme consequences. Until we can power our homes and businesses by other means that oil, gas and electric, we cannot have a civil society without them.
The saving grace that did emerge from the digital world was the ability to continue using a cell phone during the power outage. As long as you had a car charger, you could power up your phone, provided the nearby cell tower wasn’t down. But, even with a phone, internet access was limited and slow and digital has a way to go before information can be retrieved quickly from a cell phone.
When listening to the radio for help resources, the resources referred people to websites – websites which people without resources could not access without power.
It took disasters for businesses to realize the importance of backing up data and today we see a large increase of cloud users who upload data either manually or automatically to protect information and retrieve it from alternative devices. Protecting data is one issue, but without power we cannot retrieve it. Businesses come to a halt, lose money and long-term loss of power leads to an economic downturn.
No Turning Back
Environmental and accidental disasters and terrorist acts will not prevent the digital world from marching ahead at its frantic speed, but these factors cannot be forgotten and, ultimately, continue to demand we play it smart by holding on to older ways of protecting and communicating information.
Future technology must uncover a way to bridge the gap, for there lies the answer to sparing our trees.