How to do a digital clean-up and reduce your carbon emissions - which ones would you be willing to try?

  • 12 February 2021
  • 6 replies
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  • Community Manager
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We know that cutting out single-use plastics and using less paper are both important to help protect the planet.

We’re encouraged to cut carbon emissions by using the car less, recycling, thinking more about how sustainable our food is, and of course using renewable energy!

And the way we use technology also leaves a ‘digital footprint’, and so maybe we think about ways we can protect the environment by being a little more selective about how much time we spend online.

I’m fascinated by technology and I have to admit I’m easily seduced by shiny gadgets, usually with fruit logos on them.:grin:

But I can feel a little overwhelmed at times - this often leads to a good, long walk in the countryside (but my mobile phone will be in my pocket!).

I thought it would be a good idea for us to share tips on small ways we can have occasional spring cleans. 

The carbon footprint of the internet and the systems supporting it is estimated to account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, the same amount produced by the airline industry (I bet since the Covid-19 pandemic started it accounts for more).

Big tech companies like Apple and Google have started to make changes such as powering their servers and data centres with renewable energy.

But we’ve also got a responsibility, perhaps, to think about how much time we spend online.

This graphic by Statista on our collective internet usage is is fascinating:

Graphic by Statista.com

And if anything I bet the reality is much more. Check out this snapshot at Visual Capitalist

Here’s a few general tips on how to carry out a digital spring clean:

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read
  • Select long conversations in email threads, pick the newest one and delete the rest
  • Stop sending ‘ok’ and ‘thank you’ emails
  • Block unwanted senders
  • Turn off notifications from email, social media and other apps 
  • Delete emails that you won’t need again, to prevent them being stored unnecessarily
  • Delete apps on your phone that you don’t use
  • Delete redundant screenshots and photos
  • Use your phone for quick internet searches instead of a laptop — it uses less energy

How many have you done? If you had to pick one, which looks like the best for you?

And if you’ve got any more tips, share it in the replies! :raised_hands:

 


6 replies

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I do most of these anyway, but I would say I would pick 

Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read

I must get round to doing this! And it is annoying just deleting them all without reading them!

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Deleting emails and deleting apps, is something I regularly do, and have always practised even when ample storage. As device gets older, I’m focused on doing it even more. 

Deleting photos is the one I find most difficult. I don’t like clouds to store, so storage gets tight on older devices, and I can spend hours going thru thousands, and still only end up deleting about five buggers 🙄🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣, but with two devices, it’s a lot easier now. 

I know I’ll replace the old iPad this autumn, and I know then I’ll fully fully fully declutter. 

Spooky you should post this tho, Marc, as I had a thought late last night that all social media would come to a total end within a year! 🙀🤷‍♀️👍. 

Spooky you should post this tho, Marc, as I had a thought late last night that all social media would come to a total end within a year! 🙀🤷‍♀️👍. 

I’ve removed my social media from my phone - not that I was a massive user, but still, it’s made a difference. I def pick the phone up less to ‘check’ unimportant things.

I think email is the hardest one for me. Seems to be something that’s conditioned in me to think email accounts need to be checked a lot. 

I will be perfectly honest, I’m an absolute nightmare at this stuff, largely I blame Gmail and their ilk, I never used to keep much in the way of emails, now with practically ‘unlimited’ storage, I only really have a good ‘clearout’ of any of my email accounts every few months, by which time I’ve amassed thousands of emails.
Kate’s much better her email count rarely gets into double figures - although in my defence, I’m the one who gets all the ‘e-receipts.’


 

I will be perfectly honest, I’m an absolute nightmare at this stuff, largely I blame Gmail and their ilk, I never used to keep much in the way of emails, now with practically ‘unlimited’ storage, I only really have a good ‘clearout’ of any of my email accounts every few months, by which time I’ve amassed thousands of emails.
Kate’s much better her email count rarely gets into double figures - although in my defence, I’m the one who gets all the ‘e-receipts.’
 

I’m the same @Gwyndy I’m a digital hoarder! 

This morning I was listening to an interesting podcast about Bitcoin. The computer power needed to process Bitcoin by figuring out all the mathematical equations is so big, some countries would spend more on the processing than they would on the overall value of the currency available (If it became a ‘national’ currency). Even for non-economists like me, that doesn’t sound very stable. 

And there are ex-mining towns in the Arctic Circle now being used as Bitcoin processing centres, as they’ve good easier access to means of cooling the servers! Crazy stuff

Here’s a really useful BBC story about the impact of Bitcoin on energy.

 

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