Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a strong shift to virtual meetings. Having your camera “on” has often left people expose their personal lives.
A new study shows that there has been a decline in global carbon emissions as people stayed. However, videoconferencing/streaming was shown to emit 150-1,000 grams of CO2 (carbon dioxide). Leaving your camera off and reducing streaming apps (like Hulu and Netflix) can reduce the carbon footprint by 95%.
"If you just focus on one type of footprint, you miss out on others that can provide a more holistic look at environmental impact," say study leader, Roshanak "Roshi" Nateghi.
Now, people may somewhat have a reason to explain why their camera should be off—and that is saving the environment.
Learn more about carbon emissions:
"Banking systems tell you the positive environmental impact of going paperless, but no one tells you the benefit of turning off your camera or reducing your streaming quality. So without your consent, these platforms are increasing your environmental footprint," said Kaveh Madani, who led and directed this study as a visiting fellow at the Yale MacMillan Center.
Findings are published in the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling.
“The internet's carbon footprint had already been increasing before COVID-19 lockdowns, accounting for about 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But the water and land footprints of internet infrastructure have largely been overlooked in studies of how internet use impacts the environment,” Madani said.
"These are the best estimates given the available data. In view of these reported surges, there is a hope now for higher transparency to guide policy," Nateghi said.
Source: Science Daily