data addiction

Is Our Data Addiction Ruining The Planet?

Our digital lives are a double-edged sword. The convenience of data centers and networks comes at a cost – 1.5% of global electricity consumption according to the International Energy Agency. AI growth could push “the web’s emissions to a tipping point.” Google’s recent report highlights this – their emissions skyrocketed with the AI boom, derailing their net-zero goals.


Unlike other environmental issues, the burden isn’t solely on corporations and governments. Every email, video, or photo upload adds a tiny, ever-burning lightbulb to the digital grid. Can we, as individuals, use less data to save the planet? In our AI-driven world, this question may be crucial for living sustainably.

Digital environmentalism is a growing movement. “Eco-conscious consumers” are actively reducing their online footprint. Simple actions make a difference: watch videos for audio only, unsubscribe from unread newsletters, and access websites directly instead of searching.

Quantifying the impact of these choices is challenging. Variables like server type and energy source make precise calculations difficult. Data access also plays a role – estimates suggest that every time Cristiano Ronaldo posts a photo on Instagram, the energy that would be needed to show the image to each of his followers—190 million at the time—could power a household for five to six years.

Blocking web trackers not only reduces browsing energy use, but also protects your privacy. AI-powered search engines, while convenient, are resource-intensive and prone to misinformation. Disconnecting appliances from the cloud improves security.

“Forget constantly turning experiences into data. Ditching the phone on a ride might not single-handedly save the planet, but it lets you truly see the world through your own eyes, creating a memory that emits no carbon at all ;)”

Reference- BBC, The Atlantic, International Energy Agency Data, University of East London,Climate Impact Partners