Going Tech-Free

I spend a lot of time online: reading blogs, emailing, tweeting, exploring facebook, reading scientific and parenting articles, checking the news and weather, researching, uploading pictures, and writing my own blog.  Since I’m on maternity leave, I’ve been spending even more time online because it’s easy to keep connected while the baby nurses or sleeps.  Spring’s in full swing, and I’m getting cabin fever, so I’m hoping to get outdoors more and more as it warms up.

But before I sign off, I want to point out that technology, while a great way to learn about living sustainably, also has its own carbon footprint.  I’m not talking about the huge problem of e-waste, but the cost to the environment when we use this technology.

  • Email   Melinda of One Green Generation wrote about the energy cost to store emails.  A single email means about 2 kilobytes when stored on a hard drive, which is pretty small.  But think about how many emails you have stored, then multiply that by the number of email addresses in existance… HUGE! Going through your inbox and deleting emails is a great way to save energy and get organized at the same time.
  • Twitter   Treehugger has an article about Twitter’s footprint, and estimates that each tweet emits 0.02g of carbon dioxide.  Of course, this doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly: “When scaled up to the 50 million tweets sent per day, it adds up to about 1 metric ton of CO2 per day.”  Should we limit our tweets?
  • Facebook   Greenpeace writes about Facebook’s plan to build high-efficiency data storage, powered by coal.  Everything we post on Facebook, from status updates to photos, is stored in a data center, which consumes a huge amount of electricity, and therefore has a large carbon footprint.  Greenpeace has started a Facebook Group to advocate for clean energy use in the new data center.

I could continue, but all this information about saving energy by shutting down the computer is making me think about how I’ll spend my tech-free weekend.  So “bye, bye” for now!

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2 Comments

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2 Responses to Going Tech-Free

  1. Ack! That is pretty alarming about Facebook using coal to power their data storage. :(

  2. Ab, really? No tech ALL weekend? Let me know how that works out for you!!!

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