One easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, with the click of a mouse

2021 has been a year of raised awareness around the environment.

So, as we approach 2022 and start to think about changes we’d like to make, it’s hardly surprising that one of the resolutions at the forefront of everyone’s minds this year is looking after the planet.

In fact, out of three million Brits who plan to make resolutions to take them into the new year, 20% want to make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint – alongside other classics such as better finances, more travel, improved mental health, and less doomscrolling.

Resolving to improve our individual attempts to save the planet have definitely ramped up in recent times – but sometimes, apart from the obvious, it can be hard to know what steps you can take.

And some changes can feel difficult or expensive.

So, to help you be a better person in 2022, here’s something to add to the list that takes almost zero effort.

We are all aware that reducing our plastic usage, curbing our fast fashion consumption and cutting down our use of fuel increasing our use of public transport, are all good for the environment.

However, there’s a lesser known way of reducing your carbon output.

Did you know that a digital carbon footprint is produced every time we use the internet, including saving or reading data in the cloud, messaging, streaming music, or watching a video?

In fact, according to Mozilla’s Internet Health Report 2018, carbon dioxide emissions from internet data centres account for 2% of total global emissions.

This is almost the same as the average year (pre-covid) for the airline industry.

The Carbon Literacy Project estimates that sending an email without any attachments emits 4g CO2e, while an email with attachments can emit 50g CO2e.

Based on the number of emails an average office worker receives, those amounts quickly mount up to 0.6 tons in a year. If you consider that a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, that actually sounds quite a lot.

And that’s not taking into account the emails that we send outside of work, plus the copious amounts of junk mail we all have buried away, never to be opened.

So, one thing we can do, if we want to reduce our carbon footprint, is change our email habits – for example, by reducing the size of attachments, or avoiding sending them altogether if they’re not necessary.

We can also attempt to cut down on the number of unwanted or unopened emails we receive.

One super simple way to reduce your carbon output is to spend an hour or so (or longer, depending on your online shopping habits…) unsubscribing from all the unnecessary mailing lists and newsletters that you receive in abundance, and literally never open.

It’s a small and easy step that we can all take to do our bit for the planet. Plus, your inbox will be a lot more manageable as a result.

You’re welcome.

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