How big is your digital carbon footprint?

Years ago, Green Prophet brought you a link to help calculate your carbon footprint, a free carbon calculator that summed up your carbon imprint in a matter of minutes, and benchmarked it against performances of the entire world. Back in 2012, nascent social media didn’t figure into the carbon equation. Come see how your digital life measures up.

Your carbon footprint is the sum of all carbon dioxide (CO2) gas emissions caused by your daily activities in a given time frame. The figure’s usually expressed in tons and calculated over a year.  Most everyday actions use energy and produce CO2 emissions, simple stuff like showering, cooking, reading this article on a computer. Sipping that cuppa is carbon-neutral; shipping the tea to your market and heating the kettle are not.

As the number of Internet users increases, the minute measure of CO2 emitted by every tweet, comment, email and google search, starts to stack up to significance. This is our digital carbon footprint, and on a global scale, the numbers are worrying.

Thanks to the colossal number of data centers that are now needed to feed our internet obsession, the virtual world of online communication is beginning to damage the real world. EcoMENA recently ran a story by Salman Zafar that presented stats per second of CO2 emissions across different internet and social media functions.

According to Facebook’s sustainability report, in 2004 one million people were using the platform. As of 2016, users exceed one billion. The company reports that their annual per-user carbon emissions is 299g of CO2, which is less boiling a pot of tea. But with increasing usage, it adds up.

Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter once stated that each tweet consumes around 90 joules, equaling 0.02g of CO2 emissions. Tiny figure, until you factor the 8,000 tweets published every second.

YouTube

The Guardian reported that 1g of CO2 was emitted for every 10 minutes of YouTube watched. Multiply that by the views on viral videos, and watch the ozone disappear.

Google Searches

There are more than 60,000 searches made on Google per second, each producing an average 0.2g of CO2.

In 2007, Google vowed to be carbon neutral by 2017, which they have met thanks to a $2.5 billion of investment in solar and wind projects, carbon offset programs and renewable energy.

No real message here other than understand that our online lives have real environmental impact. Do your part, like Google, in offsetting your carbon footprint with any of Green Prophet-endorsed initiatives such as Meatless Mondays, building yourself an affordable holiday home, or supporting local artisans.

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