Quick wins that go beyond switching off the lights when not in use.
Climate change is happening, it is real. But like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot, most of us are still biding our time and waiting for the right moment to jump into action. I mean, why inconvenience ourselves until it is totally necessary, right?
Well, I make it easy for you to act now and feel good about lowering your carbon footprint. In this article, I list down 4 simple and tech-savvy switches you can make today to help turn the odds in humanity’s favour. Best of all, these no-brainer changes can be executed with a few clicks and without overly compromising your breezy digital lifestyle.
1. Use an eco-friendly search engine
I wrote about Ecosia previously in this article, and I mention it again as a green search engine based out of Berlin that plants trees for your searches. Instead of pocketing the ad revenue, they take a chunk and use it to plant trees around the world — a tree for every 45 searches, to be exact. To date, they’ve planted more than 100 million trees and I expect the numbers to keep on growing. If you question their legitimacy, their financial reports are up for scrutiny, if you are so inclined.
Compare this to the most popular search engine, Google, a notorious battery chugger with bloated ads and trackers that eat up additional processing power. If you don’t see yourself migrating out of Google, install an ad blocker for the next best thing.
2. Use an eco-friendly font
We love design but especially so when it serves a purpose. If you print loads of text-heavy documents and want to save on printer ink, try using a non-serif and lightweight font such as Garamond, Times New Roman or Century Gothic instead. Also another reason to abolish the Oxford comma — the world doesn’t need it.
For something especially made for this purpose: hello Ecofont. To put it simply, Ecofont punches holes in each letter without comprising overall readability. See their logo above for a snapshot of how it works. The result? Up to 50% savings in toner ink with no one ever noticing the difference.
3. Use a dark wallpaper
Newer consumer tech such as the iPhone XS, Macbook Super Retina and the Samsung Galaxy S9 feature an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) display screen. And if you have a device that does, consider using a dark-themed wallpaper.
On an OLED display, the black pixels actually do not produce any light, so having a dark wallpaper or theme as a background on your desktop or mobile will save your battery life in the long run. Not to mention, it looks ultra sleek too.
4. Use ethical e-mail
Sorry to be the Debbie Downer here, but there is a carbon cost to the e-mails that you send too. According to this article by the Carbon Literacy Project, the emails of three average office workers surpass an average person in India’s carbon footprint for all their activity for a whole year.
To help offset your digital carbon footprint, consider giving a green e-mail provider a go. Ethical e-mail providers are not only committed to using renewable energy and have sustainable practices, but are also privacy-focused with no ads as a plus. The downside of this is that you most likely will have to pay for these services. But like the growing number of ethical banks, insurers and investment funds, I prefer to think of them as premium service providers targeted at those who can well, afford to be green. There’s also a better chance of getting an e-mail address with a name that you want.
Based out of Norway — a country known for generating 98% of its electricity from renewable hydroelectric energy — Runbox is a private independent company that strikes hard on privacy, security and sustainability. Fees start from US$1.66 a month.
Posteo out of Berlin scores high with their sustainability and privacy credentials, using real green energy from Greenpeace Energy and even letting you know how often authorities request data from them. Try them out for just €1 a month.
Another German company, Tutanota, has put up a fight for privacy with encrypted e-mails and calendars for a while now. Their recent switch to 100% renewable energy offers an even more compelling vision of the future. Free for one user and 1GB of storage.
So there you have it. 4 easy ways to lower your carbon footprint as a tech-savvy digital native. The best practice always though, is to reduce your actual consumption, so mobile-free weekends and phones off after 8pm are all other great ideas to incorporate into a consciously zen-tech lifestyle.
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