If you are concerned for the environment, then this post just might make you think twice about spending so much time on your computer and on the Internet. According to The Guardian, the carbon footprint of the Internet is astounding: 300 million tones of carbon dioxide per year. Just to make that more understandable:
• Almost as much as all the coal, gas, and oil burned in Turkey or Poland
• More than half of the fossil fuels that the UK burns
• Imagine every person in the UK flying to the US and back – twice.
Astounding is the word, right? It makes you think – all the effort you’ve been putting into making the world a better place might be going down the drain. All because you spend so much time on the Internet. (Yeah, I am talking about myself here.)
Then again, the Internet does help cut back on energy consumption in so many ways. The same article outlines a couple of points:
• Smart grids are possible because of the Internet, and we all know they save energy.
• Tools such as video conferencing software help cut back on flights (read: higher carbon footprint).
More interesting are the ideas that Leo Hickman posted about a year ago. In his article, he posed the suggestion of cutting back on Internet usage:
Might we now have to ration our use of the internet to ensure its very survival? If so, what would be considering a fair share of the internet? Thirty minutes of browsing a day per person? Fifty megs of download a day? Just as we are being asked to “do our bit” for the environment by flying less, using public transport more, eating less meat and the like, might we now be asked to download fewer bulging multimedia files?
Call me biased and totally subjective, but just how accurate are these figures anyway? Isn’t it possible that the situation isn’t that bad? But yes, this post is making me think twice.
Photo credit: Green Office Projects