How sustainable is the Internet?

“Please think about the environment before printing this email.” It’s a request many of us are probably familiar with. It seems reasonable, but it also implies that an email, and by association the web, is a green medium. Sadly, this isn’t exactly true. What if I told you that the Internet is the largest coal-fired machine in the world?

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Rolling your own carbon offset scheme

Before going any further here, I want to make it clear that I’m well aware of the shortcomings of carbon offsetting, wonderfully satirised by the folks behind Cheat Neutral. However, carbon offsetting is undeniably better than doing nothing. And as sustainable as you might try to be, it probably isn’t enough. The World Resources Institute have calculated that we should be aiming for a maximum limit of two tons of CO₂ emissions per person, per year. And yet it is calculated that the average EU citizen incurs 9.1 tons of CO₂ emissions. The average US citizen emits about twice as much as this.

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Alexander Lees on the Lake District and the National Trust

“[The Laked District is] desolate, and devoid of bird life. I think it is an environmental crime. We need to look at it as a wounded landscape. It has been changed over millennia by lots of different forces, and we are not letting it bounce back to the exciting wildlife-filled area it could be. Sheep moors or grouse-shooting estates are just like eucalyptus and cattle pastures.

“They are analogous. There has been a huge amount of indoctrination over 100 years, convincing people that this is what landscape looks like.

“But look at anywhere else in the world, this is a crime against nature. The National Trust has helped to rubber-stamp this vision as to how we should see the countryside.”

– Alexander Lees, Ecologist and Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University

Source: National Trust should be radical, says Hilary McGrady on BBC News