The Environmental Impact of Using the Internet

From Science Daily:

A new study says that despite a record drop in global carbon emissions in 2020, a pandemic-driven shift to remote work and more at-home entertainment still presents significant environmental impact due to how internet data is stored and transferred around the world.

Just one hour of videoconferencing or streaming, for example, emits 150-1,000 grams of carbon dioxide (a gallon of gasoline burned from a car emits about 8,887 grams), requires 2-12 liters of water and demands a land area adding up to about the size of an iPad Mini.

But leaving your camera off during a web call can reduce these footprints by 96%. Streaming content in standard definition rather than in high definition while using apps such as Netflix or Hulu also could bring an 86% reduction, the researchers estimated.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210114134033.htm

Everyone assumes that going digital is better for the environment, but it turns out, the internet isn’t exactly eco-friendly, mainly because data centers use a lot of electricity to process and transmit data across the globe.

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