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How can universities reduce their digital pollution footprint? podcast

Online classes, Zoom meetings and emails have an often overlooked environmental impact, and one researcher is arguing universities can do more to integrate digital tools in their sustainability planning and reduce their carbon footprint.

While research shows staff and students are concerned about the environmental impact of the technology they use, senior lecturer in human geography from Macquarie University Dr Jessica McLean says they are only participants and can’t intervene significantly in how digital technologies are managed. 

She believes universities have a window of opportunity to take advantage of online tools while making them environmentally sustainable.

“I think like many institutions, there is a convenience that comes with overlooking the close analysis of the environmental costs and benefits of digital technologies,” McLean told Campus Review.

“For universities to fully engage with this question, they should  look critically at their sustainability engagement and think about digital technologies within sustainability planning [rather than] assume they are assessed within all the other categories of environmental management.”

McLean joined Campus Review to discuss how universities can reduce their digital pollution footprint.

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