We are living in a time where our resource consumption is beginning to threaten the delicate balance of global climatic and ecological systems that make this planet a suitable place to call home. With the future viability of the human species at stake, individuals the world over have taken it upon themselves to do their part to lead environmentally-friendly lifestyles, and so must we.
If you are someone who is conscious of environmental issues and also are an avid gamer, chances are that having such an energy-intensive hobby makes you at least a little uncomfortable. While one might feel torn between their love of games and environmental commitments, that does not mean we are forced to choose.
Hit the jump to find out nine easy ways you can save the environment and maybe even a little money.
1. Rechargeable Batteries: The invention of the wireless controller has been very liberating. We are no longer tethered to our consoles, but this new convenience has given rise to new problems. I used to dread the moment when my Wavebird’s batteries would expire. This inevitable moment meant pilfering the power supply for television remotes, and eventually begrudgingly heading to the store to fork over the cash for a new set of batteries. Replacing the batteries in your wireless controllers and old school handhelds with rechargeables not only saves you time and money, but also reduces the number of dead batteries that wind up in landfills.
2. Switch Off: If you are going to be away from the console or PC for more than a few minutes, you may as well save your game and turn off your console or put your PC into sleep. Pausing your game is totally cool if you are going to the bathroom or grabbing something out of the fridge, but leaving your console on needlessly for hours is not. Powering down while you are taking a break does not only have benefits for the earth, but your energy bill as well.
3. Unplug: Even when you turn off your television, computer, or console, they are still in standby. Standby uses phantom electricity and accounts for nearly 10% of residential energy consumption. So if you are planning on spending some time away from the electronics, why not do one for the environment and your wallet and turn off your power strip or unplug your cords from the wall. It only takes a couple seconds and makes a huge difference.
4. Buy Used: Unless you are planning on picking up a game on release day, there aren’t many reasons not to buy a used copy. Buying a game from someone who has already played it means that fewer copies have to be manufactured. Depending on where you buy, you could also get some killer deals.
5. Borrow: Swapping games with a friend has all the environmental benefits of buying used and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
6. Trade: Websites such as Goozex are fantastic at facilitating trades amongst gamers. Have a lot of games that you will never want to play again? Rather than let them sit there unappreciated, why not send them to someone who will show them some love?
7. Rent: Head down to your local video rental store or hit up Gamefly. There are plenty of games that you can finish in a weekend. Why be wasteful with the earth’s resources and your money when you can make both go further a little further by renting?
8. Buy Digital: With PSN ,WiiWare, XBLA, Steam and DSiWare, you have plenty of opportunities to play games without ever having to deal with physical media. Spare landfills the trouble. Also, many of these titles are being put out by independent developers. So if you have a chip on your shoulder for big business and mega corporations, help the little guys who need your support.
9. Never Throw Anything Away: If you can’t trade or sell unwanted games or consoles, please do not throw them away. Donate them to thrift stories or charity shops, or use organizations such as Freecycle to help you find someone who is willing to take them off your hands. Electronics can also be recycled, so it is worth researching about services in your area that deal with e-waste.
There are plenty of other ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Feel free to get creative and hit up the comments with alternatives or other solutions. Consider yourself a hardcore gamer? If you are really hardcore, you could even go so far as to change to a provider of clean and renewable energy.