Although completely invisible, the digital world has a tremendous carbon impact. If it was a country it would be 3rd biggest energy consumer on the planet!
So how does it pollute? And how to limit its impact?
The different digital pollution types:
Of course, the production of digital equipments has a big impact. According to a WWF study, producing a computer needs 22kg of chemicals, 240 kg of combustibles and 1,5 ton of water. Recycling old digital equipment is also an issue as between 70% and 90% of waste are not following the international recycling protocoles.
- Our digital usage
Our internet usage is responsible for 2% of greenhouse emissions- which is as much as air transportation. This is quite an underrated issue that most people are not familiar about.
- Data centers
The huge amount of data exchanged each day is stored in big data centers. Those thousands of computers workin 24/7 need electricity to function and coolers to avoid overheat.
So, how can we limit it?
- Prefer WiFi over 4G
When you stream a video on your phone using 4G you are using 23 times more energy than using WIFI because of all the relay mast used.
- Being minimalistic
Opening many tabs on your search engine consumes more energy thank keeping one open only. All the opened tabs are making regular proxy serveur calls, using kilometers of energy.
You can keep your equipments longer rather than changing them as soon as a new edition comes even though they are still working fine. Both your wallet and planet will thank you. There are also many phone and laptop repair shops that can help fix a small issue with the device.
- Clean your mailbox
By deleting old emails once a year you reduce the amount of data needed to be stored and therefore the energy needed by those giant data centers.
It's by starting somewhere that we can all make a difference!