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Is the Internet Environmentally Friendly?

 Is the Internet Environmentally Friendly? 

If you haven’t used the Internet, I don’t know how you’re reading this, and if you are from the distant future, does it still exist? The developed world depends on the internet for everything. Think about all the videos, social media, educational tools, and EarthPlex posts that you rely on internet access to view or use. 

Is this magical network that we cannot live without good for the environment? It is hard to give a clear answer as to whether or not the internet is environmentally friendly because it has helped combat pollution and fossil fuel emissions in some ways, but has also caused an increase of emitted greenhouse gasses in other ways.

The Good

Before the internet, people got their information from the encyclopedia (talk about boredom) and read tangible newspapers and magazines. This lifestyle required the consumption of physical items. Paper production requires the destruction of trees and the ecosystems they support. Factories that convert wood from trees into products burn fossil fuels as well. With the internet, tasks that required paper can now be completed paperlessly. (I think that’s a word.)  Also, people used to listen to music with tapes or DVDs. Music streaming eliminates the need for DVD players and products used for listening to music. Like going paperless, this equates to fewer fossil fuels emitted for production. In many ways, the internet is environmentally friendly, but there’s a tradeoff.

The Bad

Have you ever wondered how information on the internet is stored? Surely, there’s not an actual cloud. Vox made a video about how the internet works. Basically, there are buildings full of massive computers and wires that store and transfer information. This type of infrastructure requires many materials, not to mention the energy used by the computers, which is A LOT of energy. Servers use a lot of energy for storing data. So, while the internet has helped solve environmental challenges, it has created new ones as well.

Speaking of The World Wide Web, why not follow us on Instagram? Social media helps the environment because creators like EarthPlex can advertise without putting up flyers. 

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