Green Birds of Feather

Posted on March 27, 2008


We held a successful Birds of a Feather session at SIGCSE last week.

Here’s my notes:

– Hope for a SIGCSE sustainable practice statement
We discussed the New Zealand (NACCQ) statement on Computing Education for Sustainability – here is the background:

– Deeper analysis of problems and opportunities
– Promoting sustainable practice, integration with professional critical issues and professional practice
– Wider interpretations of sustainability – industry practice still has “all nighters” as demonstrating commitment.
– Sustainability as element of living in knowledge society
– There are areas currently missing from the curriculum that we could easily fix (Green RFPs etc)
– Several of us teaching required courses in ethics and societal impact. And most of us looking to refresh that core curriculum.
– Building renovations on campus, pushing for LEED buildings, now tables being turned as we consider whether what we are doing in those buildings is sustainable.  Many of us are in the embarrassing position of being behind our colleagues in institutional infrastructure.
– Mathematical ecology, notions of “global engineer”.
– Challenges of moving ethical moral responsibility from personal to professional level
– We discussed what it means to be a sustainable practitioner in computing and agreed that we need to work to expand the effort from energy efficiency to consideration of the whole footprint, and to move beyond this footprint to think about computing’s wider significance in underpinning other activity.
– We would like to see a book on sustainable computing
(I talked with the publishers about this. Is going to happen. Anyone interested in helping…?)
– Most of all: we are aware that we, along with almost everyone else “Don’t know what sustainability in computing means”. There is so much work to do…

So, where to from here?

The ITiCSE working group (
Time is running out for you to join this working group. Please let us know very soon if you think you might want to contribute to this working group. We hope to make significant progress on several of these issues in this group, working remotely and in person in Madrid. An ITiCSE working group comes with the promise of a peer reviewed publication.

2. We’ve agreed with the SIGCAS folks to publish a special edition of Computers and Society. Any thoughts, paper suggestions, volunteers, please let me know. We’re aiming for a September 08 publication.