The digital information that we ravenously produce and consume seems to be free. According to one source, we are posting 2.5 million images to Instagram every minute. I am no exception; my Twitter consumption has recently peaked for a reason that I will not dispel and that has absolutely nothing to do with the U.S. election.
But, unfortunately, the digital information that we love and share is not free. Yes, there are those pesky privacy issues — the targeted (or “sponsored”) ads on Twitter and websites are sometimes ridiculously relevant to me. But, to my mind, there is an even greater and more long-term cost than the loss of individual privacy.
Data is Powered Mostly by Fossil Fuels
Every time we click, upload a file or download an app, we make use of huge data centres that are mostly powered by dirty energy. According to one journal, the Internet will soon amount to nearly 1 billion tons of CO2 annually or approximately 10% of global electricity usage.
Some projections show that the information and communications sector of our economy is in fact expected to double by 2020! All of that data coming up and down the pipes could be powered by renewable energy if we so desired.