Start Thinking About Your Carbon Footprint

Start Thinking About Your Carbon Footprint
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Written by Lauren Topor

Generally, you think about your carbon footprint in terms of transportation or powering your home, but there’s also another carbon footprint you should be considering

Simply put, your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted both indirectly and directly to support all of your day-to-day activities. Generally, you think about your carbon footprint in terms of transportation or powering your home, but there’s also another carbon footprint you should be considering: the carbon footprint of the Internet. According to a new report by the International Telecommunication Union, there are more than three billion people online. That’s more people than ever before. Consider that in the year 2000, the same report found that there were 738 million Internet users worldwide. With the number of users growing, it’s important to consider the carbon footprint of your online activity. Here’s why:

The Impact of PCs, Monitors and the Tech Used to Power Online Activity

According to data reported by The Guardian, the Internet is responsible for releasing 300m tonnes of CO2 annually. To put that number into perspective, consider that 300m tonnes of CO2 is about equal to as much oil, coal and gas burned in Poland or Turkey. Or, it amounts to more than half of the fossil fuels burned in the United Kingdom. It’s hard to figure a precise measurement, since the emissions are hard to measure, making the net a complex case. However, experts look at the millions of machines used and owned by individuals and companies across the globe to predict a close to accurate measurement. A report by Gartner found that monitors and PCs are the most power-hungry machines, accounting for 40 percent of the energy demand, which is about 0.8 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Data Centers and Emissions

The same report by Gartner also found that the world’s data centers account for nearly a quarter of the carbon emitted and energy consumed by the information technology (IT) sector. A study out of the UK found that consumer and commercial usage accounts for about one percent of today’s fossil fuel emissions. The study also claimed that the information and communication technology footprint would skyrocket and grow by 60 percent by the year 2030.

Business owners and large scale companies are already taking action to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, one company is recycling the heat energy from data centers and using it to warm or provide heating to nearby buildings. Additionally, savvy business owners are moving their data into the cloud. Cloud computing is a popular way to save on tech costs and lower a carbon footprint, as it doesn’t require big, bulky energy-sucking machines. Cloud providers such as Mozy are a smart and sustainable option. Those are just two of the ways that businesses are working to reduce their carbon footprints.

Do Your Part

There are a handful of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home, and some are as easy as powering down. The U.S. Department of Energy advises tech users to power off their devices if they are planning on leaving their tech idle for more than two hours. Also, using a tablet instead of a PC or desktop system can clean up your carbon footprint, as handheld devices use far less energy than big machines. Additionally, leftover and outdated tech should always be properly recycled. Today, more than half of all e-waste ends up in a landfill. Do your part to reduce your carbon emissions and recycle your tech.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013 was a huge achievement.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.

About the author

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Lauren Topor

Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.