Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Black Screens matter, too.

As a lifetime Environmentalist, I have learned that people either care about the Environment, or the don't. The ones that care either believe in the larger impact of their small changes, or they think that making small changes like showering less is useless compared to the hundreds of companies that are wasting billions of gallons of water, for example. 
This message is for Enviro-lovers who think that their changes matter, as I do. 

What search engine do you use? I bet 80-90% of you use Google*. What does your g-mail interface look like? What color is the background of your most-often used webpage? 
Me in my natural habitat- on the trail. 
Did you know, that almost 10 years ago, blogger Mark Ontkush noted that if the Google Search engine was black, rather than white, 750 Megawatt-hours would be saved a year. Why? Cause even the tiny bits of energy used to brighten a screen add up! And when millions of people are spending hours on screens (a different issue...) all that energy adds up. 
Someone who read that post at Heap Media decided to make a web-page: Blackle, that uses a Google Search engine over an all-black background. They have estimated almost 6 million watt-hours have been saved from people using the Blackle search engine. The next step I made was to use a dark-color for my Gmail theme. 

So, does the .5Watt hours that I've saved in my years of using Blackle and dark g-mail counter act the __ energy used to make __? Probably not. But every time I load my search engine, I'm reminded 
1) I spend too much time on the internet. I'm an outdoor educator. Get the heck outside...
2) Contrary to popular belief, the internet, and electricity are not magic. It comes from somewhere. Often from coal removed from mountains through detrimental Mountain-Top removal, or from pollutant-heavy Fracking. My hope from this blog is not that everyone will through their computer out and commit to a life of hugging trees, but rather that you're AWARE of the world we're apart of, and the consequences of your impact to our Earth. 

Another thought: Holding on to all those old e-mails means storing your data, which takes energy. It could be debated that going through each e-mail to make sure you should delete it would use up more energy than it being stored...but think of all the 'junk e-mails' going out now...How many of those are being stored, with all their photos and coupon codes and fancy designs, in people's e-mails, and how many servers are being stored by Google just for junk mail. Yes- this is my brain on Environmentalism. 

Final facts: 
The internet uses 3% of the US's electricity production. 

Me again- contemplating the energy use of the internet, clearly. 
*This is based entirely on assumption and is purposely un-researched. 

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