More than 300 billion emails are sent every day around the world, and a large chunk of this is unwanted emails that are never read, or even opened. These emails are not just jamming your inbox, they are degrading the environment as well.
Carbon Footprint of Electronic Mails
Sending 65 electronic mails is equivalent to driving for 1 km in a car. Shocking, isn't it? Talking about developed countries, an average citizen accounts for 136Kg of carbon dioxide just by sending and receiving mails.
Let's take the example of the UK. The Brits send 64 million unwanted emails every day. If everyone decides to send slightly fewer emails, then the country can save up to 16333 tonnes of CO2. This much amount is equal to 81,000 flights between London and Madrid. One web search emits approximately 7g of carbon dioxide. An email with attachment emits 10g of carbon dioxide.
How Exactly is this CO2 Produced?
Mike Berners-Lee, Author of How Bad are Bananas: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, a professor in the environment center at Lancaster University, who also is the brother of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of World Wide Web, talked about the massive carbon footprint of the digital mails.
Mike said that when we type a mail, it consumes electricity. The process of sending the mail, which includes the data being passed through several networks, which again take electricity to run. The users do not understand the emission because they don't see smoke coming out of the laptops. The production of this electricity in some parts has produced a lot of carbon dioxide, which is a lot more than what we imagine.
Storage of These Emails
All major companies have data centers, where they store all the data. Large equipment containing all the data can be seen. Google has 8 data centers located in the USA, where the emails are stored as well. These data centers are working without any interruption 24*7. These storage facilities consume lots of power, with several types of equipment and uninterrupted internet connection with several servers and networks. Also, the centers need cooling systems and ventilators. These data centers are responsible for 2% of global emissions. If we treat the internet as a country, then it will be the 3rd largest consumer of energy.
What's the Solution?
Simple. Organize and Delete Your Mails. Sounds extremely simple and is very simple. A tidy inbox is what everyone loves. This is an easy way to not only reduce YOUR carbon footprint but also save the planet.
When we open our email, there are hundreds of promotional emails. There are notification emails from Facebook and Instagram. Mails from Amazon and Flipkart saying 50% OFF on Selected Items, and many more. Take time out and delete these. The Gmail has a great feature of letting you select all the emails at once and emptying the folder. Gmail also empties the deleted mail folder every 30 days. Why wait for 30 days when you can do it now? CleanFox, an inbox cleaning application, lets each of its users save 61lb of CO2 every year by deleting emails and unsubscribing from unnecessary channels. Ecosia, a web browser, plants trees with there profits. Make use of these tools, delete your emails, and become a Responsible Internet User.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
Data and Statistics: The Guardian
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