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Embracing Green Internet

 

staying green while on the screen

10 jul 2023 | by maria restrepo

In the late ’90s, all I really cared about when it came to the Internet was whether my dial-up would be stable long enough to download a song on my home computer, and that no one would need to use the telephone line while I was at it. I never thought the day would come when I would be invested in the environmental impact of my online actions, and the Green Internet would completely change the way I thought about sustainable living.

The rise of the Internet, and its profound impact on our world

During the new millennium, I witnessed the growth of the virtual world while I grew with it as a digital content developer. I’d lost count of how many songs, movies, images, and videos I’ve uploaded, downloaded or watched online.

Like many others, I’d become accustomed to the idea that the Internet and its content was a click away whenever and wherever I want, without being aware of the Green Internet.

Connectivity was no longer a luxury; it’s now a right.

Being online has been an integral part of my personal and professional life for over 20 years. As such, I knew I must acknowledge my responsibilities in this digital age.

So I began by learning about the importance of information management and the fact that not everything in the virtual world is real or belongs to me. I began to be very mindful about the ways I contributed to the Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) community; I made sure I was respecting copyright, paying subscriptions, and acting under the motto: “I don’t believe everything I see, and I don’t share everything I believe.”

Good for me, right? I’m doing my part to help the world from the virtual realm… or so I thought.

Green Internet: a game changer for eco-friendly digital creators

Over time, I learned that I could be doing more and that my virtual activity had a physical impact on the planet!

I started to see statistics, in grams of how much CO2 I’m releasing into the world while consuming or creating digital content.

Even my emails are causing pollution like any other inorganic waste 🤯.

Everything in “the cloud” also affects my physical world, just like airplanes, cars, or plastic do. I can’t touch digital content, but it is definitely touching me.

It was then that I understood the importance of the “Green Internet”, and how I can be more conscious of my digital footprint as both a consumer and a creator.

Green Internet refers to the idea of using and managing digital technologies in a sustainable way. It means taking steps to lessen the negative effects our online activities have on the environment.

I’ve embraced Green Internet practices in both my personal life, and for my clients at Insight Studio.

This process requires patience and learning, but thanks to the green Internet, it’s also a great opportunity for improvement. I plan to leave the “best footprint” possible in my journey through the virtual realm.

And you can do the same!

 colourful grid of people using computers, tablets and cell phones

Understanding Green Internet and how it affects your ecological footprint

If you are interested in reducing your online environmental footprint, understanding Green Internet is your first step!

Online information consists of data or digital content that needs to be stored in physical spaces – called servers – which in turn consume energy and emit grams of CO2 into the environment.

Every time we interact on the Internet, regardless of our pursuits, we are both consumers and creators of digital content, participating in this impact.

For example, writing and sending an email already makes me the creator of digital content, and that email can weigh between 4 and 50 grams of CO2. A video call with my friends or family can generate up to 1,000 grams of CO2, and searching for information on Google produces 0.2 grams.

Even as I write this blog, I am producing CO2. In short, everything adds up.

The Green Internet allows me to understand this, and thus I can begin to recognize my impact and be more responsible with my daily activities on the World Wide Web.

Also, if you have a website, you can measure your carbon footprint using applications like the Website Carbon Calculator.

The Green Internet is full of possibilities without limitations

As creators at Insight, we often can’t control everything in a project. We always have to adhere to budgets, designs, and expectations from clients and users.

But not everything is beyond our control. With the Green Internet we play an important role in minimizing ecological impact.

For example, as a web developer, I have the ability to:

  •  Optimize the size of images and videos to take up less space and load faster.
  •  Limit the number of videos, embed them with code, and avoid autoplay.
  •  Use plugins that help optimize loading times and cache usage.
  •  Constantly delete unused content from a website – if it’s not useful, it shouldn’t clutter.
  •  Regularly clean out my email accounts, getting rid of old and unnecessary messages, especially in the spam folder.
  •  Look for server companies located near my users’ location that offer eco-friendly plans with clear sustainability commitments.
  •  Store on physical external drives the content from the cloud that I don’t regularly use but may need in the future.

A practical read to expand our knowledge about the Green Internet on the web is the book “Sustainable Web Design” by Tom Greenwood.

Using the Green Internet means thinking eco-friendly to build a better society

Thanks to Green Internet practices, I can significantly reduce my pollution footprint- and help my clients do the same. But that’s not all I can do.

When I can’t reduce what I share any further, I make a point to ensure what I do share brings a benefit to my community!

We work with a variety of clients at Insight, and while as a company we only take on projects that align with our team’s values, the fact is that not every project is a “feel good” social cause.

However, thanks to the Green Internet, I can still make social differences with how I carry out any project! It allows me to be very creative without limitations, and I love it!

Inclusion is part of the Green Internet’s main features, and it teaches how to be very inclusive in many ways in the digital world, for example:

  •  Adding images that widely represent or identify with different communities.”>
  •  Providing accessible content to everyone by using captions, descriptive texts, using tags, and HTML headers, etc.
  •  Opening conversations that have a social impact on my users, whether through slogans, hashtags, or tags.

Spread the word of the Green Internet

Every little bit helps our planet and the people living here if together we embrace the Green Internet 🌱.

Even in the virtual realm, we can sow our seeds of change thanks to websites like #teamtrees, or #teamseas, where your contributions help plant trees and clean the oceans.

My passion is being a digital creator and helping my clients connect with their audiences digitally, and thanks to the Green Internet and the collective eco-friendly mindset, I can find real and immediate sustainability solutions in the digital world.

Chat with your marketing agency about going green with your digital content, and share this blog to join the Green Internet wave!

Maria Restrepo

web developer

Maria is a Visual Designer with over 15 years of experience in the field. As Insight’s Web Developer, she works with our Art Director and Graphic Designers to build innovative websites that excel in user experience, interactivity, and stunning animations.

Maria Restrepo

web developer

Maria is a Visual Designer with over 15 years of experience in the field. As Insight’s Web Developer, she works with our Art Director and Graphic Designers to build innovative websites that excel in user experience, interactivity, and stunning animations.

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