Ecology is also about digital
Waste sorting is good, but e-mail sorting is even better. Digital ecology exists. However, according to Occurence a research and consulting firm, only 27% of French people know this practice. A very low percentage, while the impact of digital pollution is massive and constantly increasing.
What is Digital Pollution ?
Digital pollution is therefore the pollution generated by the functioning of the internet. It’s responsible for a growing part of the CO2 emission in the world. Yes, it is not only cars that pollute.The global CO2 emission in the world generated by the web was 4% in 2019, a number which continues to rise.
So it is important to do something for our planet. Digital ecology is therefore the study of the impact of digital technology on the environment, in order to avoid its harmful effects. Be careful not to confuse it with numerical ecology, which is something quite different. This concerns the materials used in electronic devices. Hence the rise of reconditioned devices, which are more environmentally friendly.
Did you know that?
If the web were a country, it would be the 6th biggest energy consumer in the world behind China, the USA, Russia, India and Japan. Shocking isn’t it? This is why it is important to raise awareness of digital pollution. Recycling and electric cars are not the only solutions to reduce this pollution.
How can you reduce your carbon footprint?
Knowing that writing an email or doing a Google search pollute. How can we do otherwise? Here are some good habits to adopt in order to reduce the impact of digital pollution. Thanks to the advice of specialist Inès Leonarduzzi, CEO of Digital for the Planet.
1. Clean your mailbox
“We behave with digital as we did with plastic twenty years ago, without asking questions” – Ines Leonarduzzi
Just like ecology, we sort it out. However, it’s not the glass or plastic bottles but our emails. Because deleting 30 emails means saving 24 hours of light bulb consumption, which is quite a lot, isn’t it? This is a good practice to take quickly to avoid deleting all at once. Removing 3,000 emails is not pleasant at all. You should also take advantage of the opportunity to unsubscribe from newsletters that have become unwanted. In order to avoid storing unnecessary emails that are of more interest to you. Sending attachments also pollutes heavily. It is therefore advisable to send large files via an FTP server (File Transfer Protocol) such as Dropbox, Ondrive, FileZilla.
2. Close unused tabs
When searching, we sometimes open many tabs. Then we move on to something else and we forget to close them. However, an open tab is constantly being updated and keeps the data centres running. So after having finished with the open tab, you need to close it!
3. Using an ethical search engine
In order to surf on the web while reducing its carbon impact, there are ethical search engines such as Ecosia, Ecogine, Qwant or Lilo. For example, by installing Ecosia, for each search made the user participates in the planting of trees. Actually they use the ad revenue from users searches to plant trees where they are needed the most. It is therefore the perfect compromise to protect his data while financing solidarity and ecological causes.
4. Type the URL in the search bar
The carbon footprint of a research is significant. Indeed, when a user does a search, the process is long. First of all, he will use a search engine, the data center first transmits the home page. Then, the user will enter a keyword query, the data center sends the results found. And finally, the user clicks on what he is interested in, the data center of the host of the selected site transmits the web page. It is therefore necessary to give priority to the search by directly typing the URL of the site in the search bar. This considerably reduces the length of the data center’s journey.
5. Favour responsible smartphones
To help reduce the impact of digital pollution, companies can be more responsible. Indeed, there are now professional telephones that consume less energy and have smaller screens. Thus, companies can equip their employees etc. with more ethical technology. On the mobile market we find Fairphone smartphones which have a double Sim to have only one phone, professional and personal and easily repairable.
6. Unplug your phone as soon as it is charged
After the mobile phone has finished charging, it is important to unplug the electronic device as it continues to consume. It’s a simple and ecological gesture that we should all take.This is a simple and ecological gesture that we all need to do. And don’t forget to also unplug the plug, which will also continue to consume.
7. Deactivate unnecessary notifications
This solution allows you to take a break from your phone and screens. Indeed, many applications solicit users by sending push notifications. Deactivating or configuring them therefore avoids being on the phone too much and generating undesirable requests.
8. Prioritise communication platforms
In order to avoid communication via e-mail in a company with several employees in copies. It is preferable to favour the use of collaborative platforms such as Whatsapp, Workplace, Messenger. Or, in a more professional context, the use of Microsoft Teams for example. This allows for easier collaboration within a team or in a wider ecosystem. With the lockdown, their importance is becoming more and more noticeable. Especially on the way of working when the employee is teleworking for example.
9. Delete unused applications
Even if the application is no longer being used, it is still fully installed and continues to use the phone’s resources. For example, with automatic updates.The user must therefore delete the applications he no longer uses to avoid consuming energy for no reason.
Every little action counts, so don’t forget this few tips to reduce the impact of digital pollution on our planet. We still need it.
If you want to know more about digital pollution and Ines Leonarduzzi, you can read this interview that I recommend. And if you haven’t read the latest article it’s here.