The Internet has streamlined our lives, making it easier to keep informed, stay in touch, and share ideas -- but it's important to remember that the digital age isn't without its environmental impact. As the world wide web continues to grow, with more and more people getting online every day, the energy it takes to keep it going has increased too, resulting in a carbon footprint that's larger than you might expect. Filmmakers Dan Ilic and Patrick Clair put together this informative video outlining the emissions produced to deliver the internet to computers around the world. Of course, this isn't the first time such a question has been posed on TreeHugger. Last year, Pablo wrote about the environmental impact of the internet, and discussed some of the ways internet companies and users can trim their carbon footprint:
Server farms can be located near hydroelectric facilities or other sources of renewable energy and the can be built in the arctic circle to take advantage of natural cooling.
On an individual level it is important to simply be aware that using the internet is not "carbon neutral" and don't leave your computer on when you aren't using it.
As an industry, however, some internet companies have made great strides towards reducing their impact by powering their facilities with renewable energy sources -- but still there are more than a few that continue to get it from the high-emission coal plants. Perhaps the most effective way of getting more companies on board to reduce their carbon footprints is for users themselves to demand it.
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The Internet is Becoming More Energy Efficient, But Total Energy Use is Climbing