The internet is a part of our lives and has brought great benefits. But the way we use the internet is impacting our planet and harming the ocean.
Globally there are an estimated 4.9Bn internet users – this is creating huge issues for our planet.
The massive amounts of data increasingly demanded by internet users have to be stored and processed in data centres. These centres are sometimes as big as football pitches and require an enormous amount of energy to power. Some of them offset their power consumption, but many don’t, creating huge CO2 emissions.
Worldwide it is estimated that data centres contribute to 3% of CO2 emissions.
How many searches do you do per day, per week, per year? They all add up over time.
The more we search, the more energy we use. So try using your phone a bit less, take a break from the chat group, don’t scroll when you’re bored, and ask yourself, ’Do I need to watch this video?’
Binge watching online, for example, accounts for about 1/3 of CO2 from the internet. 30 minutes of watching Netflix (1.6kg of CO2) is the same as driving about four miles.
If every adult in the UK sent one less “thank you” email, it could save over 16,000 tonnes of carbon a year. That’s like taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.
That’s huge, and easy to do.
But there’s other ways you can take action online. The search engine you use, has consequences. Some search engines use more energy than others and some get their energy from sustainable sources. Loads exist, so find the right one for you. Some even plants trees for the searches you do.
Technology can help us to reduce emissions too, if we use it well. Though video calls like Zoom still use energy, they are saving millions of air and road miles by meeting virtually, rather than in person.
It’s small actions that make a huge difference, because if we all take action, we can all make a difference, one less click at a time!