With the climate crisis we are experiencing, we often talk about reducing our ecological footprint, i.e. reducing the impact we have on the environment. The new strategies to adopt affect our consumption choices, our waste, our modes of transport and should also our digital choices. This last category is less known, but it still represents 5% of Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions according to the INRS .
In this article, we offer you some simple actions to reduce your digital environmental impact, also called digital pollution .
Electronic devices (computer, screen, cell phone, etc.)
- Identify your present and future needs
Before choosing a device, it is important to know your needs. What will it be used for? How much storage or memory space is needed? With this information, you can avoid purchasing a larger, more powerful and more power-hungry model. Also, knowing your future needs helps you avoid having to change your devices before the end of their life.
- Buy used
If your needs allow it, it is better for your wallet and the environment to buy a used device. Several stores or specialized boutiques offer recycled or reconditioned devices.
- View device certifications
Just like household appliances, electronic devices can obtain certifications. One of these is Energy Star for computers and displays. The logo confirms that the device consumes 25 to 40% less energy .
Also, there is the European RoHS directive which restricts the use of certain dangerous substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Find out about the application of the directive from the manufacturer of your device before purchasing it.
- Recycle your used devices
If you no longer need one of your devices and it is still in good condition, consider selling it or giving it to someone else.
On the other hand, if it is at the end of its life, it is possible to take it to an ecocenter or a drop-off point of the Les Serpuariens program. The parts can be recycled correctly or reused to repair another device.
- Reduce your incoming and outgoing emails
Do you read all the newsletters you receive each week? If this is not the case like the majority of us, consider unsubscribing from those that no longer interest you.
Finally, reduce your email sending by grouping your questions or answers, especially in the context of your work. Since email is quickly and easily accessible, we tend to write to our colleagues or friends immediately instead of waiting until we have additional information to pass on to them.
- Delete your emails
After reading each email, ask yourself whether the information it contains should be retained. A full email box uses a lot of storage space, and therefore energy.
- Optimize your emails
A 1MB email sent to 10 people produces as much pollution as driving 500 meters by car . To send emails that use less energy, avoid images in your signature which make sendings more data-heavy. Also, limit attachments and the number of recipients as much as possible.
- Limit your digital footprint
How many social media accounts do you have? What do you publish and where? What are your real needs? Answering these questions will help you become aware of everything you generate on the Internet. Every addition you make uses energy by storing it in data centers. Keep this in mind when you want to share an image on more than one platform.
- Block videos from playing automatically
In your settings, it is possible to deactivate automatic video playback. This avoids using energy on videos you don't want to watch. Companies like YouTube and Facebook explain how to change your settings in your account.
- Use an eco-friendly search engine
The data centers of the companies hosting search engines are very energy intensive. In order to reduce their footprint, certain search engines ( Ecosia , Ecogine ) operate on renewable energy and others (Ecosia, Lilo ) donate part of their income to projects fighting against climate change.
The actions listed are only some of the behaviors that you can modify in order to reduce your digital ecological impact. Continue to educate yourself on this subject and share your knowledge with your loved ones.