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Environmental aspects of media scenarios for the future ICT society: A qualitative study
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3017-3813
2014 (English)In: ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2014) / [ed] Höjer, M., Lago, P., Wangel, J., Bokförlaget Atlantis, 2014, 218-225 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bokförlaget Atlantis, 2014. 218-225 p.
Keyword [en]
Media, scenarios, environmental parameters, consumers, ICT society
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Media Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160030ISI: 000346245500026ISBN: 978-94-62520-22-6OAI: diva2:788259
2nd International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2014),Stockholm August 24-27, 2014

QC 20150223

Available from: 2015-02-13 Created: 2015-02-13 Last updated: 2015-12-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a sustainable media system: Explorative studies of emerging media consumption trends and media processes for content production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a sustainable media system: Explorative studies of emerging media consumption trends and media processes for content production
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Understanding the process of transformational change currently taking place in the media industry is an urgent challenge for people working in the industry as well as for media consumers and other stakeholders. There is a great need to deepen our general knowledge when it comes to what the future media landscape will look like. Which of the major consumption trends that exist today will continue and possibly lead to disruptive change? Which of today’s existing trends could give us a hint of tomorrow’s media landscape? Furthermore, we need to explore the environmental impact of the future media landscape. What parameters are important when it comes to environmental aspects of media consumption, as well as in the production and distribution of media content? These are examples of the questions explored in this thesis.

I have used a number of methods, such as qualitative interviews, workshops, scenarios, case studies, process studies and life cycle assessment, in order to explore the research questions. The characteristics of the media consumption trends are presented in four scenarios. I have assumed that the strength of influence from the government in combination with the strength of commercial powers will strongly affect the future of media. The development of media is framed by the economy, the political system, and by culture. The future of media is closely connected with its relationship to the power structures in society.

I have also defined eleven parameters, as central when discussing the environmental aspects of media consumption. These parameters are related to electronic devices, travel, transportation, energy use and waste. In the future, we may see the realisation of some of all four scenarios described in this thesis. The environmental aspects of these different future directions depend on each person’s life situation and a number of choices that each consumer makes concerning environmental issues, in combination with the overall societal structure.

In relation to the global challenge of climate change/global warming, I conclude that traditional media, public service media in particular, together with social media channels play an important role in the process of increasing knowledge and awareness among consumers, politicians and other stakeholders in society. However, in current media development, media companies are rapidly becoming more commercialized and more focused on entertainment instead of on producing serious journalism concerned with social, political and cultural matters.

To conclude, I believe that it is possible to create a sustainable media system, but it will require some conscious effort of people working in the media industry, of consumers, and ultimately at the level of regulatory authorities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. 92 p.
TRITA-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2015:04
Future of media, media consumption, media production, environmental aspects, media and sustainability
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Media Technology
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164395 (URN)978-91-7595-491-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-08, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

QC 20150416

Available from: 2015-04-16 Created: 2015-04-16 Last updated: 2015-04-16Bibliographically approved

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