If you’re looking to fight climate change and protect nature, thinking about reducing your digital carbon footprint should come to mind as much as recycling food, clothes and consuming less plastic and oil. Here are some earth-friendly tips to reduce your carbon footprint linked to surfing online and device use while protecting your privacy, one value Tech for Good Canada upholds just as dearly as climate action.
Buying Refurbished Phone That Work Like New, with a Warranty
Do you really need to buy the latest model for a phone? The fact that manufacturers like Apple and Samsung and Telecom companies like Bell, Telus and Rogers are pushing us to renew our phones every two years, in pure self-interest, with little justification in terms of features, doesn’t mean you should give in to their usustainable model.
Did you know you can buy previously loved phones that are refurbished and covered by a warranty, at up to 60% less, either by the manufacturers themselves or from stores like Orchard in Canada ? They’ll take the phone back within 90 days if you’re not happy with it too. Refurbished phones in Canada with Orchard.
Recycle your Phone and Other Electronics
Do you have a stash of old phones in a drawyer? Some old computers and tablets? Admit it! There’s no reason to keep them, except granted, they’re not recycled as easily as cardboard or glass today. It does take a little effort. And because phones, tablets and computers are full of our personal data, you first need to make sure you wipe your phone clean of all your photos, numbers, texts, and then choose how to recycle it.
There’s a good chance you have a handful of locations nearby who accept phones for recycling. There are retail stores, dedicated services, charities, and more. This great article explains all the ins-and-outs of recycling old phones in Canada, including removing all personal traces.
Do Your Digital Spring Cleaning
Why limit spring cleaning to your bedroom, appartment or garage ? Most files today are stored in the so-called “cloud”, a poetic way of saying highly energy consuming servers.
Stop taking up server space on your phone, tablet and computer from old pictures and files and unused apps and get rid of them! Remember Google Docs is a virtual garage of old, unused content. Given storage is free today, we have no incentive to clean up!
You can also reduce the number of pictures and videos you take in the first place. Is that lasagna pic really necessary?
Read here about apps on Android and iOS that help with the tedious task of removing bad or duplicate photos. You’ll want to check their privacy practices though!
Here also, is how to clean up your Mac with the native iOS “Storage” feature under ” About this Mac”.
Likewise on a PC: how to clean up your PC on Windows with Disk CleanUp and other native utilities.
Use an Eco-friendly and Privacy-friendly Search Engine
Each search and click you make in search engines uses up important amounts of energy. Try to search what you’re looking for more directly. Also consider using search engines such as Ecosia that plants trees for each search. Not only can you use Ecosia on your computers, but you can also download the mobile app available on the App Store as well as on Google Play.
In addition, privacy-wise, we mentioned here a number of good, privacy-friendly search engines that won’t surveil your every move, and Ecosia is one of them.
In 2021, the Ecosia search engine even partnered with the Brave browser to make the web surfing experience fully private. I still love the Firefox browser and Qwant search engine for top-level privacy protection and country-specific search.
Consume Video Mindfully – avoid Binging!
We now know that Netflix, Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto and many mainstream forms of digital entertainment, as well as devices like the iphone push us to overconsume. Its free to take in more content, why say no? Because when we consume online content, whether videos or images, they use up energy – a lot of it. Even if Google, YouTube’s parent company, and Netflix vow to be carbon neutral, their model is based on hyperconsumption of screen time.
Be mindful. Realize when you’ve watched a video or an episode too many and decide to cut the stream off. Or put on a timer to your video watching with some of the screen time moderation tools we outlined in Spring 2021 on our Instagram page here. And let your mind open up to the world around you, whether nature or other humans!