From this most recent issue of Dense Discovery—
The footprint of ‘digital’ – everything from cloud storage and cryptocurrencies to Netflix and emails – is currently estimated to be around 3.7% of global carbon emissions. That sounds small but is equivalent to that of the entire airline industry.
We generally assume that digital is the ‘green’ alternative to traditional ways of doing things, and it can be. However, when the marginal cost is zero, we tend to pay even less attention to the impact of our behaviour: Of the ~200 billion emails sent every day, around 84% can be categorised as spam. The impact of one email (or one Netflix episode) is negligible but in their hundreds of billions, emissions add up quickly.
And that’s just email. Now think about all of our devices connected 24/7 to the Internet. In 2005 my house had three: Two computers and Xbox. Today, in 2021, we have thirty-plus devices connected to our network. And that’s not counting the websites that are out there on “the cloud” doing nothing. This all makes me wonder what kind of impact could be made by turning off Internet related things that we’re not using.➵