Many people are unaware of the fact that surfing the web can contribute significantly to carbon emissions caused by the energy consumption of data centers. With the goal to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we contribute to, here’s a list of five easy ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint.

Don’t leave your computer in sleep mode

Systematically turning off your computer and more generally any electronic equipment that is not in use should come at the top of any list to save energy consumed by digital devices. Even if the quantity of energy is small, the fact that it is used when a machine is asleep means that it is effectively wasted. Let’s not forget that lowering your screen brightness can also improve the battery life of machines while making them kinder to the planet.

Downloading > streaming

When watching videos or listening to music, you should know that downloading files always uses less power than streaming. As a general rule, if you are trying to save energy you should opt for locally sourced data rather than files on remote servers. By the same token, storing data in the cloud is more damaging to the environment than storing it locally.

digital carbon footprint
Credit: @marvelous, Unsplash
Manage your emails

Applying a few simple techniques can also reduce the carbon footprint of your email correspondence. As a rule, you should limit the number of emails you send, especially emails to multiple recipients. In a similar vein, it is worth thinking about the size of attachments; which should be kept small and in text format rather than HTML whenever possible.

Manage your browser

To cut down on your personal carbon footprint, there are a few browsing behaviors that you may want to avoid. Firstly, you should try to minimize the number of tabs left open, and make full use of bookmarks rather than Google searches to find frequently visited websites. Secondly, it is equally important to ensure that autoplay for video is turned off in settings.

Use an alternative search engine

The search engine Ecosia, a Berlin-based carbon-negative business, donates 80 per cent of its profits to organisations that help to plant trees. Since its introduction, the non-profit organization has financed the planting of 100 million trees worldwide, each of which was funded by an average of 45 web searches. In the long run, Ecosia hopes to compensate for the majority, if not all, of the emissions caused by global Internet use.

This article was first published by AFP Relaxnews.
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