Monday, May 17, 2010

The Most Flabbergasting Fact I Learned This Weekend

For me, an important part of living a cleaner (aka “greener”) lifestyle is to understand the ramifications—both the before and after—that our actions have on society and the planet.

I consider myself pretty aware of the issues, but the below paragraph absolutely shocked me. It’s from “The Inventor’s Dilemma,” an article by David Owen in last week’s New Yorker that profiled Saul Griffith, an “eco-minded engineer.”
"Google is interested in energy mainly because the company’s server farms, along with the rest of the Internet, use a huge and rapidly growing amount of power. Searching, accessing, and storing an ever-increasing volume of Web pages, family snapshots, e-mails, old books, tweets, “cloud applications, humorous videos, television shows, feature films, pornography, and everything else that can be found online requires electricity, and most of that electricity is currently generated by burning coal. The Internet’s energy and carbon footprints now probably exceed those of air travel, Griffith told me, perhaps by as much as a fact of two, and they are growing faster than those of almost all other human activities."
Am I the only one blown away?

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