Very interesting programme on Radio 4 today about the carbon cost of our digital lives. Increased use of digital technology can have green benefits with reduced travel etc., but we what the piece uncovered so well was the huge energy draw that data centres create. Each time we upload a picture to Facebook, or request a video from YouTube, we are making an energy demand and the cumulative effect of these demands already amounts to 2% of global carbon emissions. Indeed, each virtual character in Second Life actually has a larger carbon footprint than the average resident of Brazil.
I’ve added to the problem by writing this. And you’d added to it by reading it. But perhaps together we need to raise awareness to encourage the data storage industry to do more in terms of energy saving through more natural cooling systems and greener energy consumption. I’m going to start by looking to move my web-hosting over to a green supplier. Not sure which yet, but AISO seem to be doing the right thing.