Did you know that a search engine company like Google uses enough energy to continuously power 200,000 homes? Everytime someone searches via Google or one of its affiliates (such as YouTube), the company's server utilises energy to power up the servers located in data centres.
According to the New York Times, the amount of continuous energy consumption of these data centres is approximately 260 million Watts. One search on Google can charge a 60W light bulb for 17 seconds while two searches on Google emit approximately the same amount of CO2 as boiling the kettle to make tea.
A previous article on RESET about the search engine Ecosia explained that it turns clicks and searches into life-saving remedies for the rainforest and donates a whopping 80 percent of its revenue to rainforest restoration or protection projects in the Amazon.
An article by WWF titled Save Wood and Paper in WWF India also explains how we can all help in turning the internet green by making use of email to stay in touch rather than faxing or writing or even sending e-cards or invitations over the internet as opposed to buying paper cards. Given that huge amounts of energy are consumed to keep the emails stored in data centres, we should regularly delete bulk mail and clean out our inboxes. Removing ourselves from email lists we no longer wish to subscribe to also also helps reduce server energy consumption - and bypasses the build up of a mass of pesky emails in our inboxes.
Secondly, by making use of online shopping portals, we can contribute significantly to a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions by not driving to the shops.
As a platform for collaboration, the internet has huge potential to contribute towards sustainable growth and as with anything else, doing a double check of the pros and cons of the online services we use can make us all responsible citizens towards our environment.
Follow Ajay Pal Singh Chabba on Twitter @AjaySinghChabba