During the past 50 years, the media channels, the media consumption patterns and the entire influence of media in society have changed dramatically. Looking into the future, the pace of change is not likely to decrease. In order to prepare for the future, it is important to increase our understanding of the present, in particular with regards to the environmental aspects of media consumption. In this study, I present four future scenarios related to media consumption trends and discuss these scenarios in relation to environmental aspects in the ICT society.
I have tried to answer the following questions: What could be the characteristics of media consumption in different future scenarios? What parameters are central in future scenarios around media consumption, seen from an environmental perspective? How will changes in these parameters affect the environmental aspects of media consumption? I have limited the question to a Nordic context.
A combination of different media theories, future studies methodology and interview techniques have been used. Interviews and workshops were conducted with media and environmental experts and with consumers. The result of the interviews with consumers shows that very few consumers connect media consumption with environmental concerns. The majority of the interviewed persons considered printed media as more environmentally damaging compared to electronic media, which was considered "clean".
The environmental experts participating in this study considered the most central parameters in future scenarios of media consumption, seen from an environmental perspective, to be connected to electronic devices, travel, transportation, energy use and waste. The environmental aspects of these parameters depend not only on the amount of devices, travel, transportation, energy and waste, but also on the way the devices are produced and used, how the travel and transportation are done, what kind of energy is used, and how the waste is treated.
The amount of environmental information available in society is yet another important parameter in order to create a more environmentally sustainable future, and this is where the media could play an important role.
Bokförlaget Atlantis, 2014. 218-225 p.
2nd International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2014),Stockholm August 24-27, 2014