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There is one very easy thing we can all do to lower our carbon footprint and help save the planet.  We can delete our old and unwanted emails!

Save it in the Cloud’        It sounds so clean, convenient and even romantic.  But in reality there is no such thing as ‘the cloud’.  Our ‘stuff’ actually goes to huge, mainly fossil-fuel-powered, polluting data centres like the composite one illustrated below.

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According to ‘Remoovit’, , 280 billion emails with an average carbon footprint of 4 grams are sent every day in the world, equating to 410 million tons of CO2 emissions worldwide every year. 

Consider two facts:

1.  The average US citizen has 500 unread emails (The Good Planet)

2.  A study by UK energy company OVO>mediacentre has found that 64 million unnecessary emails are sent each day in the UK and 49% of Britons frequently even send an email to someone within talking distance! 

28,397 Tons of CO2 Gets Dumped In The Atmosphere Every Day By Unwanted Emails

So what can we do about it?  The answers are staring us in the face.  And it’s so easy!

  • Don’t send unnecessary emails.  OVO claims that if everyone in the UK sent one less email a day, Briton could reduce its carbon output by 16,433 tons – the equivalent of more than 81,000 flights from London to Madrid
  • Don’t hit the ‘Reply All’ button if just replying to the sender will do.
  • Keep your email concise.  Long messages and emails with attachments produce up to 12 times more carbon emissions than brief messages.
  • Delete your emails once you’ve read them unless you really need to keep them.
  • Delete large files first.
  • Don’t send ‘Thank you’ emails.  OVO found that 71% of Britons wouldn’t mind not receiving a ‘thanks’ email if it helped the environment; they have even introduced software to identify unnecessary emails.  To quote Mike Berners-Lee: ‘If you send someone a ‘thanks’ email and they’re only three metres away from you, it might be nice to just go over and say ‘Thank you’.  Think before you thank!
  • Bear in mind that deleting emails also entails using your computer, the network, servers etc which is all environmentally costly.  It’s better not to receive them in the first place, so…..
  • Unsubscribe to emails and newsletters you don’t read and don’t really want.  This will reduce your carbon footprint and that of the sender.
  • And, obviously, don’t sign up in the first place to newsletters and emails that you’re not convinced you’re going to need.

According to ‘The Good Planet’, if everyone in the world deleted 10 emails, that would have the power of deleting 1,725,000 GB, which would cut 39,035 metric tonnes of CO2, which is the same as 19,356 tonnes of coal being burned every day.


Now, wouldn’t that be a good start?

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