Mashable just posted about 8 Tech Resolutions staff members are attempting for the new year. The list includes things like digitizing your photos, setting your privacy filters on your social networks, and deleting apps you don't use. The last two items stood out: Go paperless, and go outside. These are tech resolutions that could have come straight from TreeHuggers. What else should we resolve to do in 2013 that will improve our tech lives not only for ourselves but for the environment? Here's a list of suggestions (some items of which may contradict each other but that's the joy of pick-n-choose lists):
Get a Nest thermostat
The Nest thermostat is a great invention. It learns your habits and adjusts the heating and cooling in your home based on your habits. Basically it's a programmable thermostat but it programs itself so you don't have to. Switching to this smart thermostat is a great way to implement the most effortless of modern tech in your home to minimize energy use and your bill.
If you bought a TV for its energy efficiency ratings, you may not realize that it is probably using "store display" settings to make it look as pretty as possible and not actually the energy-saving settings. Here's suggestions on how to get the most efficiency from your TV.
Decide on just the devices you truly need and donate the rest. This is easier for some people than others, depending on your job, hobbies and so on. But it is possible for everyone. Go through every room in your home, every drawer and closet, and pull out anything electronic. Select those items that you truly need and the rest.... away it goes.
Don't buy a single new device this year
Here's a resolution that will help make the previous resolution worthwhile. Make the decision that the devices you own are it for this year. You may be surprised by the end of the year at how much money you save and how satisfied you are with what you already have when you ignore the drive to have the newest shiny thing.
Commit to e-waste recycling
Make sure that if you upgrade or break something, that you properly recycle it. Check out dates for local e-waste recycling events and put them on your calendar. As you clean out your devices and set aside anything broken beyond repair or obsolete, you'll already have a plan for where and when you'll recycle them.
Dare to repair
If something breaks, try fixing it yourself or taking it to a repair shop. It's usually cheaper, though some companies work hard to ensure it is not cheaper to repair than to replace. But it also can give you a sense of pride in your own repair skills, or give you warm fuzzies for supporting a local repair-shop owner.
Unplug from the tech world
Go outside, and go without gadgets. This actually could be the hardest resolution of all. It makes me uncomfortable at just the thought of going into nature without a camera in my hand. But try it. Go into a park, to a beach, in the woods, on a hiking trail, and go without a single electronic device on your person. After the twitching subsides, you'll notice just how refreshing it is to be simply in nature without distraction.
Switch to a website hosting company that uses clean energy
If you own a website, this year can be when you sign on with a hosting company that uses green energy like wind or solar to run their servers. Since data centers are a rapidly increasing percentage of total global energy use, it's important to support those who are using renewables.
Replace hardware with apps
This is a fairly easy one for most of us these days, since our cell phones can do practically everything. No more alarm clocks, radios, document scanners, or even watches or timers. Make a list on the gadgets you have that an app could replace, then donate the old gadgets.
Get a non-gadgety hobby
As Lloyd noted in our discussion about resolutions, "Get a piano. Keeps kelly off the computer for hours on end." Actually, it's a great point. Find a hobby (or focus on an existing hobby) that does not require electronics. Hiking, playing chess, bird-watching, or yes, even playing the piano. Do something that doesn't require electricity. And enjoy!
What else might be a great green tech resolution this year? What will you resolve to do to improve your gadget-oriented life? Let us know in the comments.