Welcome to The Digital Environment! The Internet has changed our world dramatically, and not always for the better. Here you can learn about environmental issues related to computers and the Internet and what you can do to minimize your environmental impact.


Cyber Defender &
Message Center Supervisor

As an environmental activist, Trey believes that technology has the potential to improve our world, but only if it is used and created responsibly. He encourages people to become aware of their actions and to make simple changes in their lives that will have a big impact on the environment.

A recent graduate of the Academy (class of '07), Trey runs the Message Center in Cyberspace. He loves communicating via email because it is quick, easy, and reduces paper waste.

Favorite Quote:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
- John Muir

Favorite Food:

Vegetable Curry


Ultimate frisbee, Gardening, Recycling trash into treasure

December 2, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: CFL: Good or Bad?

Staring at all these holiday lights has got me thinking about the lights in my own home. When compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) first came out, everyone was shouting how awesome they were and that they were going to save the environment. Well…it turns out they might not be so great after all.

On one hand, they do save money and power. On the other hand, they’re filled with harmful chemicals that, if not properly recycled, can be very dangerous. If you break a compact fluorescent light bulb, do not vacuum it up. Leave the room immediately and tell an adult to open all the windows in the area for at least 15 minutes.

After this, let the adults pick up the pieces while wearing disposable rubber gloves. Tell them to use a damp cloth to pick up all the little bits and to wipe up the powder. After the mess is cleaned, they should put the bulb pieces in a sealed plastic bag and bring it to a recycling center that takes hazardous materials – the Earth 911 site can help you find one near you. The other trash should be put into a plastic bag and thrown away.

Is it worth it? I guess it is, as long as you recycle them properly.

posted by Trey
topic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

November 17, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Mobile Phone Technology

So the holidays are coming up, and maybe some of you might be getting new mobile device as gifts. Or, maybe you already have one and the old one is lying around, collecting dust. So what exactly should you do with an old mobile device? Throw it at your enemies? Save a bunch and make some sort of cellular phone art? Leave them in a drawer in case of an emergency? No!

You should recycle them! There are actually a LOT of great things your old mobile devices can do for people. Whether that means helping soldiers overseas talk to their families or helping victims of domestic violence, they can be a lot more than junk drawer filler. Here is a list of several worthwhile charities.

posted by Trey
topic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

October 7, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Recycling Your Computer

So you’re ready to get a new computer. Of course, you’re not just going to throw your old computer away! That’d be both harmful to the environment and a terrible waste. Instead, you decide to recycle it. So you unplug your machine and drop it off at the local thrift store. What a good deed!

Unfortunately, you never bothered to properly take your information off the donated computer and now whoever buys it will have access to EVERYTHING you’ve ever put on there. Suddenly, that good act has come back to bite you in a major way. So what should you do?

Most people will just try to drag everything to the trash can or recycle bin, but this only partially erases the information! Cyber villains can find this “deleted” information and use it however they want. To really protect yourself, you need to run a program that “sanitizes” your hard drive. These programs, which can be found online, work by replacing all your data with a jumble of useless nonsense. That way, your information is safe and your good deed goes unpunished!

posted by Trey
topic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

September 10, 2010

Environmental Issues: BP Oil Spill

Okay, so we’ve been gone for two months and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill still hasn’t completely stopped? I mean I know they’re trying to fix it, but seriously, innocent people and wildlife are suffering.

UGH. Sorry, this sort of thing really irks me. I know they’re working really hard to correct their mistakes and there are a lot of good people trying to make everything better, but I’m just so sad and angry about this whole situation. I guess I need to get past this, though. I mean, my being angry isn’t helping to solve the problem. I need to take all this angry energy and channel it into something productive. Maybe I’ll get a bunch of people to write letters to the other big oil companies in the world to beg them to make a thorough disaster plan. This way, we’ll be better prepared to deal with an event like this in the future. What do you think I should do, cadets?

posted by Trey
topic: Environmental Issues

August 26, 2010

Environmental Issues: Chernobyl

Four months ago today in 1986, the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Chernobyl suffered several massive explosions due to strange power shifts in the plant. The resulting cloud of nuclear fallout caused a massive evacuation of nearly 350,000 people! To give you some idea of the amount of fallout released, the Chernobyl disaster released over 400 times more radioactive material than the bombing of Hiroshima.

All nearby life, including animals, humans and plants suffered greatly from this release of radiation. Many died or were unable to reproduce. Even in 2010, plants and animals are still affected by the radioactive release, though to a much smaller degree. Still, despite big disasters like this, nuclear energy is one of the safest and cleanest forms of energy available to us. The question world leaders (and future world leaders like you) must ask themselves is this: is the risk worth the reward?

posted by Trey
topic: Environmental Issues

July 29, 2010

Environmental Issues: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Unfortunately for the world’s oceans (and for those of us who enjoy them), the Deepwater Horizon Disaster of 2010 isn’t the first major oil spill to hit the US. In 1989, an oil ship called the Exxon Valdez hit a reef off the coast of Alaska and dumped anywhere from 10.8 to 30 million US gallons of crude oil into the water. The reason for the disaster was that the ship’s radar had been broken for over a year and the company controlling the ship considered it too expensive to fix.

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill ended up costing the company far more to fix the disaster than it would have to just fix the radar! The saddest part of all, if you ask me, is that twenty years later we’re still using the same methods to clean up spilled oil even though it didn’t work all that well the first time around. I hope the next generation learns more from us than we did from our predecessors.

posted by Trey
topic: Environmental Issues

June 24, 2010

Being Green: Bio-electricity

After last month’s article about bio-computers, I’m really excited up about new green tech! Continuing a theme, I want to tell you about bio-electricity. Recently, scientists have discovered a way to use microscopic plants called algae to produce power. Apparently, when the algae take in sunlight and make food through a process called photosynthesis, it releases something called electrons. Scientists have found a way to capture these electrons and use them to produce a very small electric current. Best of all, this source of energy doesn’t release carbon into the atmosphere! How great is that? But don’t get too excited – this technology is brand new and won’t see any practical uses for many years. Still, the possibilities of algae-produced electricity get me totally charged up!

posted by Trey
topic: Being Green