What’s the digital sobriety?

12 June 2023 | digital pollution

Currently the deforestation and waste spills in nature are no longer the only human activities that destroy the ecology. Indeed, the environmental impact of digital becomes more and more alarming. In fact, it becomes indispensable to limit the use of the digital if we wish to preserve the environment. The purpose is not to narrow the use of digital, but to promote the actions that will minimize its impact on the environment. This, in order to anticipate the consequently degradations. It’s here all the importance of the digital sobriety. Right now, more explanations.

The generated pollution by the digital sector

In the carbon emission and other polluting substances, the digital sector has also its part of responsibility. Indeed, this last contributes largely to greenhouse gas emission. Things that, remember it, condemn the future of the planet. The imminent danger is still global warming, but other health and environmental hazards are also here.

The digital pollution gathers all forms of pollutants generated by the digital sector. These chemical and electronic pollutants can significantly deteriorate biodiversity.

Because pollution by the process of manufacturing

In fact, it’s not quite the use of digital equipment that pollutes the most; it’s their manufacturing. Actually, this last requires the massive use of fossil energies, especially during the phase of extraction of raw materials. Henceforth, the energy consumption during the manufacturing is simply colorful. Besides, these operations contribute to the depletion of natural resources.

On the other hand, the end of life of these devices is a danger for the environment. Indeed, this spill of electronic waste is unavoidable and according to the ONU, 75% of these wastes can’t be recycled.

For all these reasons, the management of waste is an important challenge for every manufacturing country of digital devices and for every concerned company.

The pollution caused by the internet network

Unlike received ideas, the Internet network is not fully immaterial. A lot of digital equipment are necessary like computers and other phones but also the necessary infrastructure for the information transportation (wires, replicators, antennas…) and the use of these equipment have an undeniable ecological impact.

Only with the video streaming for example is responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions. If it’s possible to reduce this footprint by reducing the resolution of the video, oh by connecting in Wi-Fi, the impact is no longer non negligible. However, the carbon footprint related to the manufacturing is still more consequent compared to the one linked to the use. A lot of companies tend to use green energies, but the great firms like Netflix, Amazon or Twitter are not still there. 

The digital pollution caused by 5G

The deployment of 5G will generate with no doubt a growth of electricity consumption. Simply because the data volume to transfer will know a consequent increase. Undoubtedly, the digital pollution will get worse because of new infrastructures and new equipment will be used. It’s the case of connected objects of smartphones and virtual reality headsets compatible with the 5G. Indeed, a study realized by the HCC plan that with the deployment of 5G the carbon footprint of the digital sector will increase by 18 to 45%.

What’s the digital sobriety?

The digital security is a concept founded by Frederic Bordage, the founder of GreenIT. It’s an mail approach aiming to reduce and limit the use of digital. This process oversees the evolution of the carbon footprint related to the digital sector. But in addition, the energetic consumption is one of the elements that is most verified.

The main fundamentals of the digital sobriety

Indeed, which principles aim to institutionalize digital sobriety.

First of all, awareness must be raised. Indeed, the digital impacts on the environment must be revealed to the great public in order that they can act. Having a reflex to keep informed with the emission of GHG and of their impacts on the ecology. Henceforth, all firms, organizations and particulars can reduce the digital carbon footprint.

Then, we need to put sobriety in the middle of the formation and the digital evolution. Indeed, in order to limit the environmental impact, the principle must be combined with concrete actions. Strengthening the formation of developers and web integrators and applications to the responsible digital challenge is fundamental.

Finally, the last principle is to consider environmental criteria in all calls of offer.

Puts into practice of digital sobriety

In order to guarantee the reduction of the carbon footprints and to reach the objective of digital sobriety, there are two principles that every company in particular can adopt.

The principle of reduction and substitution

To limit the negative impacts of the digital on the environment, the first thing to do is to reduce unnecessary consumption. Certainly, this could be like a marathon, but you will need to try to reduce the production of connected objects. Also, the use of screens needs to be decreased and looking for other systems of display needs to be thought about. Do we, for example, really need a connected coffee maker in Wi-Fi, if you use it only once a week?

To be short, it’s essential to reduce our needs in digital material if we want to decrease their impacts on the ecology. The conception of ecological manners in all digital equipment is already a big step into the preservation of the environment.

The principle of longevity

To limit the production, we need to focus on the repair. But on the one hand, companies need to be engaged to produce resistant devices. Henceforth, programmed obsolescence will be banned if the company engages in eco-responsible conception. In addition to limit the process of manufacturing, this will not miss to lessen the exhaustion of raw materials. Automatically, the energetic intensity required for the manufacturing will decrease.

On the one hand consumers most prefer the repair in front of a new purchase. Secondhand devices are also very useful. These are simple gestures, but they are very significant.

The benefits of digital sobriety

Indeed, the digital sobriety allows users to acquire digital devices for low costs. The latter will be less powerful, but they will have a lower impact on the environment. Then, it favors the production of less sophisticated devices, easy to use and accessible to everyone.

The sustainability of digital accessories is, in addition, an undeniable advantage of the digital sobriety. Consumers will have stronger devices over time. The objective is not to be against change, neither against the consumption or production of new objects, but well to create sustainable objects and to lower environmental impact.

The cloud and digital sobriety

Data centers of clouds represent a huge electric consumption on a global scale. Henceforth, it needs to promote the resort at the consumption of green energies. Indeed, wind and solar farms are better options to make the operation of data centers more autonomous.

The cloud needs to evolve in order to reduce the use of the climatization and other consumption of energies. Some initiatives are looking for more passive cooling, such as Microsoft who is experimenting with the implementation of submarine centers in the seas of Scotland. With this system, the cooling of servers by the current is fully natural.

Good practices to adopt for a sober society

More than the companies, digital users also have the responsibility to minimize the digital impact on the environment. It’s also crucial to adopt curative and preventive gestures to protect the environment still by profiting from digital evolution. It is sometimes small habits that can change everything.

Equipment recycle

If the repair is not possible, then, the last thing to do is to favor the good management of waste. As much as possible, it needs to recycle some components. For the user, he can choose to pick a reconditioned device in order to contribute to the reduction of excessive production.

The choice of ethic products

Some digital devices are now eco responsible. Users that care about the environmental impact can henceforth adopt them. It’s about choosing a device that is less energy consuming in order to promote low consumption. The small screen is also more eco responsible than a big screen. Also, if it’s a TV, smartphone or tablet screen.

Green electricity

The notion of green electricity is now common. Indeed, many are the electric suppliers that choose the distribution of electricity from green energies. They can then opt for one of the following solutions:

  •         Wind turbine;
  •         Biomass;
  •         Hydroelectric;
  •         Geothermal;
  •         Tidal turbine.

If the green electricity is not still at your disposal, start by small actions. Have, for example, the habit to turn off or unplug your digital devices when you don’t use them. This will decrease the energy consumption and guarantee at the same time the longevity of your terminals.

Small habits can reduce the digital pollution

In the struggle against the digital pollution every little gesture counts. Here’s some examples.

Cleaning the mailbox

Have the habit to delete the useless mails of your reception box in order to free some space.

Closing unnecessary tabs

Open tabs are making data centers work in order to update them. So, shut every tab that are no longer useful.

These are the most logical, but outside this, you can choose the ethic research engine. The latter often finance solidarity and ecology causes. Then, like tabs, don’t forget to turn off the notifications that are not useful in order to limit the energy consumption.

In the end, the digital security concerns everyone. Indeed, the producer or the user need to act together to preserve the environment and the planet.

The contribution of Greenoco in the objective of digital sobriety

Greenoco has developed a solution allowing to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of websites, by optimizing the necessary resources to display the sites. Thus, data center servers are less used and so consume less energy and reject less CO2. Moreover, the necessary energy for the transportation of the information is also reduced. Finally, less charged resources allowed to reduce the terminals wear (smartphones, tablets, …) and of their battery, ensuring them a longer life span.

This seems maybe marginal, but there might be many 100 tons equivalent economized carbon every year on sites with a high audience.

You want to know more? Contact us for free quote, or for any complementary information.

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