Every Email Leaves A Carbon Footprint: Here’s How You Can Reduce Digital Carbon

Aiswarya Anil
·4-min read

A few days ago, the world’s largest and most used search engine stopped working, which also shut down all the other services that it provides. Google, along with YouTube, Calendar, Gmail and other necessary applications, ceased to work for a brief period of time.

If you’re wondering what the reason is, we have got it covered for you.

Although the inherent problem of the shut down was a technical glitch at the end of the server, the ecological implication of the same is rather insidious and rooted in our unhealthy digital habits.

What Was The Issue?

Google cited the reason for the shut down as an ‘authentication system outage,’ which happens when the internal tools that allocate storage for all services to work smoothly faces a running problem.

To put it simply, the storage space at the end of the server ran out, causing all the services that work against its background to crash down.

It’s similar to when our PC games crash if our computer runs out of RAM space or hard disk space. Hence, many of those who use Google to control their house appliances were literally left in the dark.

Lessons From Google Going Down

Although the depletion of storage space is not directly a concern that affects the environment, it is a reminder of how we forget to minimise those internet and social media habits that contribute towards carbon footprint. Sadly, our storage habits play a major role in the same.

Every time we make a Google search, download a “Good Morning” GIF from our relatives or share prank videos, we are not just affecting our own physical storage space. Such small activities, that we perform without even blinking an eye, demand the requirement of energy – electricity, to be precise – which eventually adds up to the global carbon footprint.

Also Read: As Google Goes Down, Everyone Gets Busy Making Memes Of ‘When You Google Why Google Is Down’

To those who are still wondering, carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere and shockingly, our mundane internet routine also does the same.

However, here are some ways you can reduce the same.

Steps To Reduce Online Carbon Footprint

1. Minimise the number of downloads that you make

One can start doing so by sharing less amount of videos and images on platforms such as WhatsApp or Instagram.

2. Try not to stream content online

Watching content online or listening to music while on the internet can use up tremendous amounts of energy. Considering how Netflix takes up around 15% of the internet’s traffic, it is high time that one switched to alternatives such as downloading and watching content offline.

3. Find better alternatives to storing your important files on the cloud

Internet storage does sound like a more sustainable option to keep your files safely, however, it is detrimental for the environment. USBs are a good alternative – however, there’s a catch in that too.

4. Use your gadgets minimally

Companies like Apple and Samsung do increase our appetite every year by launching newer and classier phones but it is vital to question yourself as to whether you actually need them – because old electronics contribute to a huge amount of e-waste. Hence, keep your USBs also safe.

5. Always free up space on your email and install ad-blockers

Although the previous points may have sounded drastic for one to change their habits too quickly, this option may calm your nerves. Pop-up ads also consume a lot of data just to appear on your screen, hence, a good old ad-blocker would keep the pest away.

Cleaning up your emails will benefit you with a neat workspace and will also protect Google from crashing down again.

It’s partly ironic that we, the consumers, are the real superheroes without whom such multinational companies won’t be able to survive.

Many multinational companies such as Microsoft and Google allege that their companies have been foolproof enough to leave minimal footprints. In 2007, Google announced itself “Carbon Neutral” and aims to become “Carbon Free” by 2030.

However, we know whose conscience is much better, right?

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: India Today, Reset, FirstPost

Find the blogger: @aiswaryanil

This post is tagged under: google down, pollution, carbon dioxide, carbon footprint, environmental issues, does internet usage harm the environment, how to save the environment, green habits, google, microsoft, what happened to google, why is google down, how to reduce carbon footprint, what is carbon footprint, digital carbon footprint, digital carbon

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