Environmental Impact of Washing Machine, more time for reading, sometimes it is better to use more carbon

Hans Rosling has a TED video on the Magic of the Washing Machine.

If you go to the TED stream you can click on the transcript to jump to sections I refer to below. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_machine.html

Let's start with the end point.  Hans is an environmentalist who discusses the benefit of the washing machine. In the end the environmental impact in his case gave his mother time to read.

And what's the magic with them? My mother explained the magic with this machine the very, very first day. She said, "Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry; the machine will make the work. And now we can go to the library." Because this is the magic: you load the laundry, and what do you get out of the machine? You get books out of the machines, children's books. And mother got time to read for me. She loved this. I got the "ABC."This is where I started my career as a professor,when my mother had time to read for me. And she also got books for herself. She managed to study English and learn that as a foreign language. And she read so many novels, so many different novels here. And we really, we really loved this machine.



And what we said, my mother and me, "Thank you industrialization. Thank you steel mill. Thank you power station. And thank you chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books."

Thank you very much.

Hans discuss the environmentalist extremist view who says not everyone in the world should have washing machines.

But when I lecture to environmentally-concerned students, they tell me, "No, everybody in the world cannot have cars and washing machines." How can we tell this woman that she ain't going to have a washing machine? And then I ask my students,I've asked them -- over the last two years I've asked, "How many of you doesn't use a car?" And some of them proudly raise their hand and say, "I don't use a car." And then I put the really tough question: "How many of you hand wash your jeans and your bed sheets?" And no one raised their hand. Even the hardcore in the green movementuse washing machines.


Hans makes the point that energy use is growing in Emerging Markets, and part of the factor are a woman like below voting for an official who brought electricity to her home.


This is what we hope may happen. It's a real challenge in the future. But I can assure you that this woman in the favela in Rio, she wants a washing machine. She's very happy about her minister of energy that provided electricity to everyone -- so happy that she even voted for her.And she became Dilma Rousseff, the president elect of one of the biggest democracies in the world -- moving from minister of energy to president. If you have democracy, people will vote for washing machines. They love them.

You could say Data Centers and cloud services are like washing machine and changes people's lives, but just like the washing machine the features that people purchase are energy and water efficiency.  The old days of simply getting things to work have moved to using the least resources to accomplish the task.