Saa 2009

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t's presentation from SAA 2009 Session 406: Seeing the Forest: Environmental Sustainability and Archives

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  • Sustainability often approached with an evangelistic zeal sustainability attempts to place environmentalism in a practical, science-based view Relies on measurement and data to make rational choices “precautionary principle”
  • removing things at rates faster than they are remade. --fuels -- oil and coal take several hundred thousands of years to form; (world demand for oil in 2006 was 86 million barrels per day) -- metals; why recycling is so important. mining the trash is much more sustainable than mining the earth -- consumption drives exploitation of resources -- if resource has a fixed volume, increased consumption speeds resource collapse -- sustainability is really about equilibrium
  • -- manufacturing processes -- garbage -- greenhouse gasses (directly tied to the use of fossil fuels (like gasoline) but also to electricity (coal); roughly 40% of greenhouse gasses come from coal generated electricity. -- carbon foot print (the average american’s is 5 times the world average; in fact two flights from PDX to Austin and 5000 miles of driving is more than the world average) -- global nature of problem; rising middle class in third world
  • -- pay now or pay later -- relationship of degradation to equity (see condition 4) -- again – much of this is consumption driven (ie hardwood floors here, deforestation there) ratchet effect – over-exploitation of resource leads to increase in price and further exploitation Secondary effects include watershed damage, habitat loss, biodiversity loss
  • -- global equity; Negros sugar cane famine -- is information a “basic human need?” -- access to records and archives as foundation for open and accountable governance -- is open and accountable government a “basic human need?” -- conditions about (1-3) directly impact this one, in fact they often ratchet each other.
  • Sustainability is really just a different way of looking at the was we do things with the end of letting them happen forever We all want a better future -- sustainability principles don’t prescribe politics Hahaha Sustainability isn’t some stuff cribbed from a ouija board, it is based in the scientific method an backed by mountains of evidence. Sustainability *is* real work and organizations that have implemented it have saved millions; switching printer presets to duplex saved the Multnomah County $33,000. That’s one less person out of a job.
  • many others, but these are the key ones for this presentation environmental – impacts of digital systems on the environment, especially in relation to the four conditions. Recordkeeping – We know this stuff; things that relate to authenticity, reliability, use, etc. Technological – the machine and intellectual base for all of the digital world; efficiency and order
  • Data centers in the United States consume 1.5 percent of all electricity produced. 61 Billion kilowatt hours = all color tvs in the US, electrical needs of 5.8 million homes cost=$4.5 billion (2006) The entire tech sector is power saturated- from manufacturing, to composition, to need to run it. info from wikipedia sources of electricity (about 90% non-renewable (50%coal; 20% natural gas, 20%nuclear)) 10% renewables mostly hydro global consumption of non-renewable energy about 80,000 terawatt hours; at that rate, without other sources, all non-renewable energy will be consumed in about 120 years.
  • getting smaller getting greener oil dependent components plastic, silica, iron, aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and a mix of trace elements – some toxic, some not. plastic requires 2 cups of oil and 50 cubic feet of natural gas per pound. energy – over 2000 kWh to make one laptop (290 kg of fossil fuels) (12:1 fuel to product pound ratio)
  • mostly plastic and metal [number made: cd’s, dvd’s, flash media cards; usb drives; removable hard drives] hard to estimate accurately as the uses for and media evolve. in 2001 4.5 billion cds and dvds were sold (prerecorded and blank). that’s 500,000 tons of landfill.
  • - There are more than 1,000 chemicals used during electronics production many are known to be hazardous to human health, including lead, mercury and cadmium. Chip manufacturing is especially dangerous with thousands of gallons of toxic solvents used to clean microscopic dust and dirt off the chips Manufacturing workers and the communities surrounding high-tech facilities are exposed to these toxics and have developed higher rates of cancer, reproductive problems and illness. Water intensive processes; water may be the next “big shortage” estimated $1 trillion to “decarbonize” coal plants
  • 30-40 million computers in the US to “recycling” in each of the last two years E-waste worldwide = 50 million tons, per year. 80 percent is not recycled; the 20% that is is often exported
  • Retention often not considered in systems “permanent” records rules; Oregon OAR for instance Retention could be driver for either migration, conversion or both Match retention to media to minimize need to recopy Retentions often not applied until new space cannot be obtained
  • Old saw – for every record, there are 19 copies. Many unused For desktop systems migration often occurs at the machine level (all those copies!) big systems less haphazard and more purposeful: LOCKSS, variations in resolution; etc. think AOL; but also think filled up hard drives, servers
  • Access almost ubiquitous Allows records to go to people instead of requiring people to go to records *Can* be cheaper *can* be easier *can* be more equitable
  • Requires precise environment Requires power Small problems can mean total loss Costs are highly energy dependant and not scalable: (like the South African paper on low power solutions for archives facilities)
  • Sustainable rule of thumb: don’t copy/convert unless there’s a reason to. If it’s born digital try and keep it that way, unless the cumulative cost is excessive reason for conversion? preservation, access, ?
  • change is certain, but much of the change has little effect – storage gets smaller and cheaper, files get bigger and bigger formats change with some regularity media changes paradigms change (but usually over longer times)
  • Technologies *may* bring relief But we have to act as if they won’t Solar power example Precautionary principal Out of the frying pan, into the fire (biofuel and world hunger)
  • There are limits to things like chip speeds, memory capabilities – things that are governed by the size of atoms and the speed of light. Like the previous slides – must learn to “choose” instead of “have it all”
  • The two defining paradigms for costs are machine costs and energy costs. An Apple IIe (1970) cost nearly $8000 in today’s money; a cell phone cost $8500. My wing is more powerful than both and my daughter gave it to me because she gets new ones all the time working for tmobile. Enterprise data costs between $15k and $20k per terabyte per year (data center costs) Energy prices – since 1978 in the United States, electricity costs have tripled; gasoline and natural gas have quadrupled; and fuel oil has quintupled. This trend (especially worldwide should continue).
  • Most computer components operate on a 3-5 year replacement cycle – “whether you need it or not!” Driven by a variety of technological and mechanical factors May slow in these economic times, but predictions in 2005 were for shorter (ie 1-2 year) replacement cycles Many conversion and migration activities are or can be tied to replacement rates.
  • this recycling facility in California receives 150,000 pounds of electronic waste per day. Provides jobs, allows better reuse of material; mandated in some states Exception, not the rule, especially worldwide Remember the numbers on recycling percentage and media lifespans.
  • Remember what not only runs computers, but is used to make them Peak Oil is a reality that all accept – the only question is when. Relationship of migration costs to energy costs in digital scenarios (one estimate is 60% for storage) At what point does the cost of migration and storage exceed the value of having it in digital format?
  • While analog formats have issues, there may be points in the migration path that make sense to move digital to analog Conversion from digital to analog for both preservation and for cost can be sustainable options too Cost relative to other budget items, especially in a public institution
  • Can increase access to records, but careful; 20% of the US population isn’t on the internet and doesn’t want to be (Pew 2007) for highly used collections, can reduce some environmental factors (carbon footprint, mostly associated with travel)
  • Riley County Deeds in the Underground Salt Mines in Hutchinson, Kansas issues in both directions (digital photos to analog photos) how many copies to maintain (original, hi-rez, variety of presentation versions); LOCKSS model. Average size pretty big (COP scans in the 100+mb range) Lossy preservation v lossless; what’s being preserved?
  • sustainability is as important as any other consideration when planning conversion/migration projects project planning should include formal analysis of sustainability Devise a system of measurable components to determine sustainability costs Factor these costs into overall project cost benefits Remember equity (sustainability condition 4)
  • example from Oregon State Archives about legislative CD’s Costs of cleanup downstream Already have examples of cost and impact of poor planning: mid-20 th century paper; 1980’s microfilming
  • Decisions about records storage and maintenance should factor appropriateness: - retention access needs v consumption costs overkill “hip effect”
  • Want versus need Sustainability is often contrasted with consumerism – the idea that we should have all that we want especially in todays economic times, but even when looking to the future, the ability to choose what matters from among many options is important In most worlds, actions are mutually exclusive: in a scenario where you are choosing to scan records for online access over something like drug and alcohol prevention programs for the poor, you’d better be able to say why. real world; celilo and the dalles dam; the dalles dam generates 2000 megawatts (or about 1/30,000 of the US data center needs). To put it in operation, the United States was willing to flood Wyam or Celilo, the oldest continually occupied place in north america and a cultural icon for American Indians.
  • while there is a heavy push towards the digitization on the world, we might want to examine that in light of the four sustainability conditions. global warming, species extinction, global poverty, resource depletion, the pollution of nature – all of these have accelerated in the computer age. We can have both, but it means looking at all of the activities that we blithely participate in with a more calculating eye.
  • [Archives Power: Memory, Accountability, and Social Justice ] You can say that archivist are just doing what they do best – providing as much access to as many records as possible Good goal and makes a lot of sense. But if you embrace the activist archivist role, it means you have a *responsibility* to use your work to make a better world. If that’s the case you can’t ignore the consequences of professional activities on the environment. And you have the *responsibility* to work to minimize that impact.
  • Saa 2009

    1. 1. The Environmental Sustainability of Migration and Conversion Strategies for Electronic Records @terryx666 ♥ www.facebook.com/terryx666 ♥ terryx.wordpress.com
    2. 2. or . . . <ul><li>246 $a Digital Information and the Environment $g (a cautionary tale) </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>This we know... the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to earth. All things are connected, like the blood which connects one family. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Seattle, 1854 </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Four Conditions of Sustainable Systems
    5. 5. What is Sustainability? <ul><li>To become a sustainable society we must... </li></ul><ul><li>1. eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of substances extracted from the Earth's crust (for example, heavy metals and fossil fuels) </li></ul>
    6. 6. What is Sustainability? <ul><li>To become a sustainable society we must... </li></ul><ul><li>2. eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of chemicals and compounds produced by society (for example, dioxins, PCBs, and DDT ) </li></ul>
    7. 7. What is Sustainability? <ul><li>To become a sustainable society we must... </li></ul><ul><li>3. eliminate our contribution to the progressive physical degradation and destruction of nature and natural processes (for example, over harvesting forests and paving over critical wildlife habitat); and </li></ul>
    8. 8. What is Sustainability? <ul><li>To become a sustainable society we must... </li></ul><ul><li>4. eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s capacity to meet their basic human needs (for example, unsafe working conditions and not enough pay to live on). </li></ul>The Natural Step (http://www.naturalstep.og/en)
    9. 9. What Sustainability is Not <ul><li>Anti-technology </li></ul><ul><li>A source of division </li></ul><ul><li>A secret wealth transfer mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>Cook-Booky </li></ul><ul><li>An unnecessary burden that interferes with real work </li></ul>
    10. 10. Vectors for Digital Systems • Environmental • Recordkeeping • Technological
    11. 11. Environmental Vectors <ul><li>Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Component Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Media Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Manufacturing </li></ul><ul><li>Component and Media Recycling </li></ul>
    12. 12. Must. Have. Power.
    13. 13. What’s in there, anyway?
    14. 14. Built to Last?
    15. 15. Productivity at what cost?
    16. 16. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink
    17. 17. Recordskeeping Vectors <ul><li>Retention </li></ul><ul><li>Record Copy </li></ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Creation format </li></ul>
    18. 18. Length Matters
    19. 19. Lots of Copies Keep Servers Stuffed
    20. 20. Connected or Topless?
    21. 21. Nothing Lasts Forever Sumerian Beer Recipe: 5000 years Vinland Map: 500 years Moon Landing Tapes: Whoops!
    22. 22. Born Digital or Naturalized?
    23. 23. Technology Vectors <ul><li>CHANGE! </li></ul><ul><li>Techno-determinism </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Costs </li></ul><ul><li>Replacement Rates </li></ul>
    24. 24. “ Change is Certain, (Progress is Not)”
    25. 25. Technology doesn’t always have an answer. Or at least a good one.
    26. 26. Physical limitations
    27. 27. Costs Machines ▼ ▲ Energy
    28. 28. Replacement rates
    29. 29. Migration <ul><li>Migration: The process of moving data from one information system or storage medium to another to ensure continued access to the information as the system or medium becomes obsolete or degrades over time. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Stale? Is this the day-old media store?
    31. 32. At some point you just have to give in
    32. 33. Conversion <ul><li>Conversion: A process of changing something's form or function; Conversion includes scanning paper documents to create digital images or rekeying paper text into a computer. </li></ul>
    33. 34. Stuff comes to you. Even in the pond.
    34. 35. Making it Last
    35. 36. Sustainability and Cost Benefit Planning <ul><li>Sustainability as one key panning component </li></ul><ul><li>Deferred and hidden costs </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Needs versus wants </li></ul><ul><li>People versus machines </li></ul>
    36. 37. sustainability in planning
    37. 38. Do it for the kids!
    38. 39. Is this the most appropriate way to get things done?
    39. 40. “ Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” Ghandi
    40. 41. Man versus Machine &quot;In the modern world, the most dangerous form of determinism is the technological phenomenon. It is not a question of getting rid of it, but, by an act of freedom, of transcending it. How is this to be done? I do not yet know.” Jacques Ellul in the Technological Society (1954)
    41. 42. Activist Archivists
    42. 43. Bottom Line it <ul><li>Sustainability is a required and important part of migration/conversion planning </li></ul><ul><li>Archivists are making choices that directly effect the environmental health of the planet </li></ul><ul><li>Migration and conversion practices can become more sustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Archivists cannot defer their responsibility to make sustainable choices </li></ul>
    43. 44. the future <ul><li>When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Hawken, May 2009, </li></ul><ul><li>http://bit.ly/wqWK3 </li></ul>

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