I love the internet. As a child of Generation X, I had to rely extensively on libraries and books for any research that I might want to do until fortuitously, the internet arrived and I was and still am able to find answers to all my questions of life, death and the universe, online. This has been a great thing, even though it has been accompanied by social media and our obsessive desire to leave none of our narcissistic tendencies overlooked.
The increase in our digital use during and post-pandemic has also meant that we have transferred many of our high carbon emitting activities to slightly lower ones. Using Zoom instead of our cars for meetings, flying less for conferences, reading our books online instead of contributing to forest depletion and excessive water use by reading paper backs, even sending emails instead of letters, all use less carbon.
But even though there is less carbon being emitted when we surf the internet, post on social media and send emails, that is not to say that NO carbon is being emitted. From the manufacture, end-use and finally the end of the products life, all our electronic devices use energy in some form or the other. And this has an impact on Earth’s climate and environment, especially when the sources of energy are from fossil fuels. This impact is our digital carbon footprint. The extraction of material from the ground to make phones and laptops, furthercontributes to the degradation of ecosystems and the environment.
In this podcast we talk about the extent of our digital carbon footprint and what we can do about it.