We're all aware that if we want to reduce our carbon footprint and lessen our impact on the environment, then we could choose to drive less and walk to work more... But something not spoken about quite so much is how our use of the internet, every single search into Google, each and every email we receive, is actually responsible for it's fair share of carbon emissions too!
Our impact on the natural world is indisputable, and we think that we should be doing everything we can to change that. Our digital carbon footprint is something that we've recently been thinking about a lot - thinking about just how easy it can be to reduce! So, here's a list of quick tips that can help you to reduce your digital carbon footprint and be more eco-friendly on the internet!
"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little" - Sydney Smith
Worker Smarter, Not Harder!
It would be far too easy for us to simply say "use technology less"... But, well yeah... Use technology less! When not at work, spend more time outside, cook healthy meals from scratch and enjoy a creative hobby. Looking after your physical and mental health, as well as taking breaks throughout the day if you can, could quite possibly improve your efficiency when actually working, which often means working better with technology and at a computer for a lot of people.
Unplug More Often!
Switching off from work and unplugging yourself from life online as often as possible will of course reduce your digital carbon footprint and consumption of electricity... Whilst doing this, you can also literally unplug your technology and any other appliances from the wall when they're not in use to eliminate a phenomenon called phantom power - reducing your consumption of electricity even further!
The Cloud? Count Me Out!
Much of our digital carbon footprint comes from all the electricity required to power and charge our devices... But the internet also contributes to our carbon footprint with all the additional electricity required to power what exactly everything is stored on - the massive servers! Therefore, we can reduce our total digital carbon footprint by individually storing a lot less on the internet, which includes all our photos stored on iCloud! The answer here is to utilise an external hard drive or upgrade to a larger built in one if we have to extend our amount of required storage space.
Spring Clean Your Email Inbox!
Similarly to using the cloud, all of the emails that we receive have to be stored somewhere... Imagine just how many emails each of us have received over the years? Millions? Each email can be a lot larger in size and required storage space than you might think! By giving each of our inboxes the occasional clear out, we can all save a lot of storage! In turn, helping to reduce our digital carbon footprint!
Unsubscribe From The Spam!
So, how many of those emails you just deleted were nothing more than spam? How many were trying to sell you something you don't need, and how many came from mailing lists that you can quite easily unsubscribe from to stop receiving even more in the future? Emails from mailing lists must give you the option to unsubscribe from the mailing list on every single email. It's the law! You'll most likely find this option down at the bottom of each email, and apple also makes this super convenient at the top when on an iPhone.
Stop Streaming So Much!
By this, we don't mean reduce the amount of videos, movies and memes you watch literally... We mean stop streaming so much data! When watching movies and videos, you can reduce the quality down quite a bit with it still be completely watchable. Video players such as the one on Youtube will sometimes automatically play a video at the highest quality that your connection will allow, which could mean as high as 4k, when you could watch it comfortably at 1080p, 720p or even 360p instead. Don't get sucked into their recommendation rabbit holes either!
Switch Your Search Engine!
You know how we said how everything you do on the internet contributes to your digital carbon footprint? Well, that includes every single time you search for something! You can make a big difference by making the switch to Ecosia.org! Ecosia is a search engine just like Google that uses completely renewable energy! It also plants trees with the money it generates from running ads, and makes it super easy to switch with a Chrome plug-in!
Balancing Out Our Emissions!
A typical solution to reducing our carbon footprints as individuals is carbon offsetting. This is commonly offered as a solution to combatting carbon emissions created by air travel - which we have previously spoken about in our Guide For Making Your Next Flight More Eco-Friendly. Carbon offsetting is usually done in the way on planting tress... Rather, paying someone else to plant trees on your behalf. Whilst it can be more effective to support an organisation who are experienced in this area and are working to restore wildlife habitats and natural eco-systems where it is most needed, it can often be done in your own back garden, or by maintaining any green space in your local area!
Seek Out Green Energy!
In a similar way to reducing our carbon footprint through carbon offsetting, our carbon footprint can also be reduced by generating green energy from renewable sources in the first place. For example, individuals can power their homes and technology through green energy by installing solar panels on their own roofs. Alternatively, more and more energy providers are joining the green energy market - and more and more individuals are making the switch to green energy providers such as Bulb!
Shop Second Hand!
The technology that we're all so used to using nowadays unfortunately requires a vast amount of energy and resources to actually create... A shiny new iPhone might be nice, but a pre-loved, second hand iPhone can work just as well! Not to mention it can cost a fraction of the price! Shopping second hand, whether it's for technology or anything else, can be a really great way to cut your carbon footprint!
You Can Recycle Your Tech Too!
Whatever the technology is, it's important to dispose of it in the correct way! Recycling your laptop or phone can mean that new products are created from the materials and parts within them. Better yet, they may even be able to get a second life through a repair trade-in scheme, which can also mean giving you credit towards another device in the process!
The Power Of Technology!
Throughout the past century, technology has become much more accessible and affordable, which has lead to the adoption of it in it's many forms all around the world... It seems to always be moving and improving, which unfortunately comes with a cost - more and more energy and resources required to produce more and more products, meanwhile old products become obsolete and often end up in landfill. This is exactly why the tips in this blog post are so important and why we all have to be more aware of our digital carbon footprint.
On the other hand, these improvements in technology have lead to advancements in green energy, so there is more and more hope for a greener, cleaner future!
Technology has made us all connected... As a society, we can use it to pressure businesses and governments, and as individuals, we can use it to inspire and spread a message of hope - that a greener, cleaner future is worth fighting for.
Got a tip for reducing your digital carbon footprint? Leave a comment below to let us know!
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