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In 2019, greenLantana made a big decision—to offset the environmental impact of our web presence. Lantana employees want to better their community and environment. We avoided the environmental impact of the brick and mortar office and work commute by becoming a distributed company, and we have a drive to further reduce our environmental impact. We recognize that the Internet itself has a carbon footprint, so tackling the impact of our web presence is a natural next step.

Right now, you are reading this either on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, powered by your local energy source, and talking to servers drawing electricity from local grids. You might be surprised and discouraged that our information economy has such an impact on the environment. For example, just doing one Google search emits an estimated 1 gram to 10 kilograms of CO2.[1],[2] For comparison, a boiling electric kettle can emit 7g of CO2.[3]

With approximately 2.5 billion people globally hanging out on the Internet, you can understand why internet traffic creates as much CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels as the global aviation industry.[2]

So how do you take a glum, overwhelming problem and try to play a part in the solution? At greenLantana, we looked at all the angles and decided to offset the carbon footprint of our public facing website starting in 2020 and begin to migrate all of our physical servers to a green cloud, a data center that has incorporated energy efficiency in its operations.[4] While we construct a timeline for the latter and start to review data centers for their energy efficiency, transparency, and technological innovation, we are joining with the Web Neutral Project to calculate the carbon footprint of our web presence. Check back to see our results on our website. I hope to write an update around this time next year to reflect on how things went and what we learned.

The Web Neutral Project certifies carbon neutral websites.

In the meantime, you can take steps to reduce your own Internet carbon footprint.[5] We can all develop a new mindfulness about our actions and their butterfly effect on the world around us.

If you own or work on websites:

  • Know your carbon web footprint. Carbon calculators can help you estimate.
  • Develop your website efficiently. Make it minimal, easy to read, and easy to navigate with a fast page load speed. Your customers and readers want that very much.
  • Improve your search engine optimization to reduce irrelevant incoming traffic.

As a business:

  • Consider using a green web hosting company or green cloud.[6]
  • Consider switching to an alternate or renewable energy source if you can.
  • Enact office policies that reduce energy consumption and waste (i.e., unplug computers or turn off power outlets at the end of the day).
  • Connect with greenLantana. Let’s find new sustainable solutions to your health IT needs.

As an individual:

  • Go small when you can: browsing on the tablet or smartphone uses less energy.
  • Examine your email habits. Unsubscribe to newsletters you don’t read. (You’re welcome!) Limit “reply all” emails.
  • Go old school and talk to connect. Call people with a landline instead of emailing them, if possible.
  • If your local energy provider has alternative or renewable energy sources, check them out and see if that’s something you can support.
  • Snooze or shut down your computer when you can.
  • Unplug computers when possible! Unplug chargers that aren’t being used.

[1] https://climatecare.org/infographic-the-carbon-footprint-of-the-internet/

[2] https://qz.com/1267709/every-google-search-results-in-co2-emissions-this-real-time-dataviz-shows-how-much/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/jan/12/carbon-emissions-google

[4] https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-google-microsoft-green-clouds-and-hyperscale-data-centers/

[5] https://ethical.net/technology/how-to-reduce-your-internet-carbon-footprint/

[6] https://www.missioncloud.com/blog/5-reasons-why-the-cloud-is-environmentally-friendly