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Group Emails & Cat Videos Can Do As Much Environmental Harm as Flying in Airplanes

ICT ecosystem emissions generated almost as much CO2 as commercial flights in 2018, so think twice before hitting Reply All or watching that video.

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If you watched this video as many times as I did, you were part of the problem when it comes to expanding your carbon footprint.

If you truly care about saving the planet and preserving the environment, stop hitting the “Reply All” button on those company-wide emails—and definitely don’t watch the video of the guy who didn’t quite make that Olympic-style leap his liquid courage told him he could on an endless loop.

It turns out chain emails, watching hours of videos on YouTube and streaming music on Spotify or binge-watching “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ are just a few of the ways we’re unknowingly killing the world around us.

For those who care about such things, that’s obviously a harsh reality.

“The emissions produced from our digital footprint, within the ICT ecosystem, and our use of the cloud has now put these simple tasks on par with the CO2 emissions being produced by the commercial aviation industry,” according to a report by shared computing power service Cudo Ventures.

The report says the information and communication technology system produced about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2018, compared to about 2.6 percent for commercial aviation in that same time period—and it’s bound to only get worse with the amount of data that’s added to networks every day.

There’s no specific mention about how things like videoconferencing affect CO2 emissions in the report summary.

The problem starts well before we unwrap that new phone or log onto that new tablet, says the Cudo Ventures report, noting more than half of the world’s carbon emissions are produced from the extraction of the raw materials needed to make the gadgets themselves.

“When it comes to the energy consumption of cloud computing, the solution lies with using more sustainable energy sources,” the report says.

“With 50% of the world’s PCs, laptops and mobile phones running idle at any given time, harnessing their spare processing power rather than building new data centers to meet demand, ensures we can utilize an otherwise wasted IT resource,” according to the Cudo Ventures report.

How you can save the planet with less ICT ecosystem emissions

About 40 percent of the Gen Z respondents who answered the Cudo Ventures survey said they’d share their existing computer power if it were better for the environment. Overall, 86% of the youngest respondents are open to renting out their spare computer power and 89% already do it in some form.

“Many people are unaware of how many emissions are created by our digital footprint every day, and that number is increasing year on year within the ICT industry,” said Cudo Ventures founder and CEO Matt Hawkins.

“With over 50% of hardware being idle at any one time, utilizing this unused processing power is a cleaner and more sustainable solution to reducing emissions,” he said.

If you truly care about saving the planet and preserving our resources for future generations, it’s time to think long and hard about how many episodes of that new podcast you need to listen to today—as long as it’s not AVPlus, of course.

Then, please feel free to binge to your heart’s content. The world will be a better place if you do.

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