Sustainability of ‘Slow Media’

Athena Benjamin, Writer

Jennifer Rauch surprises Linfield with the true effects of data usage and technology on the environment and the benefits of slow media.

Rauch is a journalism and communication studies professor at the Long Island University Brooklyn and journalist with pieces in Huffington Post, Medium, and Urban Audubon.

She wrote and published the book “Slow Media: Why Slow is Satisfying, Sustainable & Smart” in 2018 and is  on tour discussing her research.

In the Austin Reading Room, Rauch gave a short presentation that overviewed slow media and then took questions from the mediator, Lisa Weidman, and the audience.

Rauch’s general concept of slow media was sound and impressionable: technology is damaging to individuals and the environment and society must limit their usage.

She said that her inspiration comes from the Slow Food movement that encourages local and fair food production and consumption. Many people have taken this practice of approaching things “slowly” and applied it to many spheres within society and Rauch focuses on the media sphere.

During her lecture, Rauch inquires whether DVDs or streaming videos is more eco-friendly. An audience member responded that streaming is better because there isn’t anything being physically created.

Rauch informs the audience that streaming is actually more harmful because of the data centers used for streaming. This transitioned her to the emphasis on streaming’s surprising effects on the environment.

“A device streaming 1 hour of video per week uses more power per year than a new refrigerator..” “More data centers (‘server farms’) are so large they are visible from space,” Rauch said.

She also spoke about the addiction toward technology and media. Studies have shown that receiving a like notification gives people similar chemical and psychological responses to gambling.

Rauch presented several slides with lesser known facts about data usage and technology disposal to support the

When prompted about solutions for the issue, Rauch spoke about putting pressure on corporations to make the changes toward more eco-friendly products. “Push for some kind of change. Society doesn’t need to be run like that,” Rauch said.

There is a Greenpeace ranking system that grades corporations on how eco-friendly their work is. She reports that after these businesses are urged to be better, they get higher grades on the scale.