Nearly five billion people across the world use the internet across 30 billion internet-connected devices, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs. We’ve created a smart and digital world that suits most of our conveniences and functionalities. However, digitalization and sustainability are words that are rarely used together.
Sustainability in the online world refers to practices and measures that should be taken to minimize the negative implications of our digital life on the environment. It also means reducing e-waste, reducing carbon footprint, reducing digital clutter, and being efficient with our resources and technologies.
Most of us think of the internet as digital or ‘in the cloud.’ But the servers that facilitate our internet connections produce huge emissions that leave carbon footprints in their wake. This means the more we rely on the internet, the more the need for a cleaner and renewable future.
Governments and organizations have done their bit to limit the carbon footprint and other emissions caused by our reliance on digital products and services. However, as individuals, there are certain steps that we can take to create a sustainable, clean future.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about eco-friendly digital habits and making sustainable choices in the online world.
Environmental Impact of Digital Technologies
Not known to many, our digital actions, including streaming videos and using the cloud, have a significant effect on our environment. One study showed that if digital technology were to be a country, it would have an ecological output 2-3 times the size of France.
This shows that digital technology has effects similar to a physical presence as it has extensive infrastructure that features servers, user terminals, and communication networks.
Digital pollution is as real as physical pollution. In fact, digital technology is responsible for approximately 4% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
It can be categorized into three main pollution areas:
- Environmental impact of digital terminals (including smartphones and laptops)
- Undersea network infrastructure pollution (undersea cables)
- Energy-intensive data centers
Eco-Friendly Digital Practices
It Starts With Digital Sobriety
Eco-friendly digital practices start with your own online activities. Being conscious of this means turning off devices when not in use and limiting screen time when necessary. Think of these simple steps as ways to conserve not only your electricity but the output required to power them.
For instance, a sober approach to digital sustainability would also mean prolonging the life of your devices longer than the projected shelf life. It’s possible to achieve this through maintenance, sustainable repairs, and recycling. Think of it as reducing e-waste.
Stagent encourages digital sobriety by reducing contact moments with your devices, conveniently locating all important booking information within the schedule / itinerary. Furthermore, being build as web-application, Stagent does not require any powerful hardware to run smooth and efficiently, allowing you to access Stagent on any device (with an internet connection).
Opt for Green Web Hosting (Earth-Friendly Websites)
Websites and web apps require hosting for optimal functioning. However, not every web hosting service provider is big on environmental sustainability. Traditional web hosting can leave a significant carbon footprint in its wake because of the energy consumption of data centers and servers.
By working together with DigitalOcean, Stagent is committed to minimizing its carbon footprint and maintaining sustainable practices, DigitalOcean actively invests in utilizing efficient server hardware and optimizing the overall energy efficiency of its data centers, which have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) averaging at 1.15. By leveraging renewable energy, DigitalOcean aims to make an even greater positive environmental impact.
Furthermore, as Stripe Climate Partner, Stagent joined forces with their payment provider; Stripe, to contributes 1% of your subscription to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere.
Digital Cleanliness (Declutter Your Space)
Decluttering your digital space means clearing out unused files on your computer, phone, or any other digital device. This is done as an afterthought relating to digital efficiency.
Take it a step further and head over to that jammed email and do the necessary. Start by deleting all those emails from unwanted mailing lists. Also, avoid sending large email attachments. Doing this reduces data transfers, which have a bearing on energy consumption.
Another way of decluttering your workspace, is by using Stagent to manage the booking process. Efficiently streamline the process of sending contracts and invoices, without having to print any documents by digitally signing your contracts without any extra fees. Furthermore, by using Stagent you can create Eletronic Press Kits, reducing the need for big data transfers between you and your contacts.
Role of Individuals and Communities
As mentioned in the text above, your choices as an individual are just as important as the choices made by organizations and governments. Your approach to the use of the internet and digital products should be geared towards adopting eco-friendly practices, and reducing your digital carbon footprint.
Accountability is important, especially when the need to regularly assess our actions is paramount. Stay informed about eco-friendly digital practices and share your knowledge with your community. Advocate for digital sustainability, encouraging others to make responsible choices.
Extend your actions to your local communities as they play a vital role in sustainability. Join or create eco-conscious communities, both online and offline, to raise awareness and advocate for greener digital practices. Together, you can have a more significant impact.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Digital Habits
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Eco-friendly digital habits substantially decrease your carbon footprint. This means fewer greenhouse gas emissions from data centers, reduced energy consumption, and a lighter burden on the environment.
It also helps you save a buck because you consume less energy and, consequently, lower your electricity bills. Over time, these savings can be significant, benefiting both your wallet and the planet.
- Enhanced Device Lifespan Responsible device maintenance and sustainable practices extend the life of your gadgets. This results in fewer discarded devices and less electronic waste, reducing the environmental impact of electronic manufacturing and disposal.
- Improved Digital Experience Digital cleanliness, achieved through decluttering and efficient practices, leads to better device performance. Faster, more efficient devices consume less energy and provide an improved user experience.
Overcoming Challenges and Barriers
- Convenience and Habits
Many individuals find it challenging to break away from established digital habits and embrace eco-friendly practices. The convenience of familiar routines often presents a significant barrier to change.
Overcoming this challenge begins with taking small, manageable steps. By gradually replacing less sustainable habits with greener alternatives, you can make the transition more feasible.
- Limited Options
Access to eco-friendly alternatives for digital services and products can be limited or less accessible, depending on your location and needs.
Supporting and advocating for sustainable options can help address this challenge. When consumers demand eco-conscious choices, the market responds with more offerings.
Consider seeking out and promoting businesses that prioritize sustainability. By doing so, you not only gain access to greener options but also encourage broader availability for others in your community.
Creating a better planet for now and for the future is paramount. We tend to think of global degradation as a cause that only comes with environmental pollution stemming from industrial activities.
However, even using the internet for functions that seem as harmless as streaming videos can have a negative effect on our world. Digital products and services require undersea cables, data centers, and servers, which can be power-hungry.
Adopting eco-friendly digital habits is our best bet when it comes to making sustainable choices in the online world.