Do we want electronic billboards? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Do we want electronic billboards?

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 11:00 pm

Billboards are an old stand-by of the advertising industry. Now they are undergoing a 21st century metamorphosis. In urban areas and along the Interstates, including Interstate 10 around Ahwatukee Foothills, those roadside monsters are going electronic, despite community protests and adverse environmental impacts.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America is excited by the trend, proclaiming that, "Digital advertising is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing areas in the outdoor advertising industry." They expect today's 800 digital billboards to mushroom to about 9,000 in just 10 years, which means you'll likely see them sprouting in your community.

The new digital displays work like giant TV screens, like what some call "Powerpoint on a pole." Rather than the static image of the past, a digital billboard flashes a different image every few seconds. The bright, rapidly-changing graphics light up the sky, demanding our attention, night and day.

While local folks from Montana to Durham, N.C., to Hollywood, Calif., have launched protests and legal fights to stop this new form of neighborhood blight, digital advertising has another less obvious downside. Just when every watt of power generated in the U.S. is becoming more precious, these billboards suck up a lot of juice.

The U.S. Green Building Council in Texas found that one full-sized (14 feet by 48 feet) digital billboard uses as much electricity as 13 average homes. Knowing this, the ad industry's prediction that there will be more than ten times as many of these billboards in a decade - a decade when we should be taking dramatic steps to cut energy use - is disturbing.

Why are these energy hogs popping up everywhere? The answer in a word: profit. While a single, digital billboard is expensive to install - perhaps costing $500,000 - and to run, advertising companies make a lot of money on each installation. Unlike a traditional sign, they can sell space to multiple advertisers, rotating through five ads per minute.

It's a good deal for advertisers, too. Placing an ad within the rotating electronic loop is much cheaper than the long-term lease of an old-style billboard. Since ads can be custom designed for a particular time slot, a restaurant can hype their lunch special during the morning hours, and make a pitch tailored toward dinner service later on.

If our society is going to make real energy conservation progress, get off foreign oil and minimize climate change, it is not enough to call for efficiency measures by individuals. The hard work of 50 families cutting their energy use by 25 percent is wiped out by just one new digital billboard.

The careful use of our remaining natural resources is at the heart of the principle of environmental stewardship. No matter how profitable digital billboards may be, they must also be evaluated on the basis of good stewardship, energy conservation and community justice. And this evaluation needs to be done now, before the new technology fills up the landscape.

 

The Rev. Peter Sawtell is executive director of Eco-Justice Ministries, an independent, ecumenical agency that helps churches answer the call to care for all of God's creation. Reach him at www.eco-justice.org.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Road Trip! 5 Tips to Make Your Weekend Getaway Perfect!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripOil #CollectiveBias While ta…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 4:53 am @ http://coachdebbieruns.com/weekend-getaway/

More Hot, Dry Weather Expected Near Big Sur Blaze

(BIG SUR, California) — Firefighters are bracing for hotter weather and lower humidity in the area near Big Sur where a wildfire has destroyed…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 2:52 am @ http://time.com/4427969/firefighters-brace-for-hot…

Tropical Storm Mirinae barrels across southwest China

Tropical Storm Mirinae has hit China's Hainan province with damaging winds and flooding rains. It is the third tropical storm to hit China thi…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 12:21 am @ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/tropical-sto…

Body-camera video shows fatal police shooting in Ariz.

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Body-camera footage released by the city of Winslow on Wednesday shows the seconds leading up to the fatal shooting of a 27-y…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:51 pm @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016…

Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

Print Dodging Costs and Power Cuts, Tanzanian Firms Profit From Solar Drive Facebook's Solar-powered Internet Drone Takes Flight Solar Plane C…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:23 pm @ http://www.voanews.com/content/uganda-unveils-its-…

Team Canada sending 313 athletes to Rio Olympics

The Canadian Olympic Committee has announced Canada's full 313-athlete team for the Rio Olympics. Canada's contingent is made up of 187 women …

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:21 pm @ http://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/canadian-olymp…

Living a Fit and Full Life: 1byone 24W Portable Solar Charger with 2 USB Ports Review

1byone 24W Foldable Solar Charger with 2 USB Ports High Solar Cell Efficiency:  The 24-watt high-efficiency solar panel generates a power conv…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:20 pm @ http://www.livingafitandfulllife.com/2016/07/1byon…

Minnesota in a Box: To Get You to Visit, the State Will Now Visit You First

Take a vacation to Minnesota? Nah, it's too cold and dreary with all that snow and dreary-ness. Brrr… To combat this common misperception, Exp…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:21 pm @ http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/minnesota-box-get-yo…

Turkey shuts down dozens of media organisations

STEPS FOR DISABLING AD BLOCKERDriving in Canada Canada - a home away from home Canada, it's time to change! Living with a disability in Indo-C…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:21 pm @ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-ea…

Daniel Johnston's Amazing Life Is Now A Batshit Graphic Novel

Born in Salamanca, Spain, and now based in Barcelona, Ricardo Cavolo is an illustrator and muralist who has won international acclaim for his …

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:22 pm @ http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/27/daniel-johnston…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…