Assume that if we want to keep the planet livable for generations to come, everyone will have to do their bit to combat global warming. And so the question could not be avoided: what role do we as bloggers have to play in this story? Can their websites, with the help of SEO, be impactful in influencing more people online?
But first a firm disclaimer: no climate activist nor scientist is speaking here, but a thinking citizen. I want to leave out the frontal attack or the raised finger. This is a thought exercise.
Hand in your own bosom
Personally, I’m inclined to think that my ecological footprint in real life it’s not too bad. For example, air travel is usually not for me, and for obvious reasons I do not necessarily have to go skiing 3 times a year.
If you think about it a bit further, I should not blow too high off the tower. I may be more of a house sparrow, but every time I want to move further than, say, 2 kilometers around my home, it is done with a diesel-fired minivan. Furthermore, the temperature in the house must be at least 22 °c throughout the winter, there is quite a lot of slumber consumption. Finally, the content of my weekly shopping cart mainly looked at the ease of use, the price, and the taste of the food. You can’t call it climate neutral.
Anyway, there are always mitigating circumstances to invoke.
Large-scale user in data and internet infrastructure?
Back to the initial question of this article. Can bloggers contribute to the fight against global warming? I think so.
You hardly hear about it, but as a blogger, we use endless data and internet infrastructure. Our content, our data, and our files are stored in data centers around the world. They eat energy. And as long as that energy demand cannot be covered by green electricity, we are anything but climate neutral.
Do I emit CO² when I surf the internet?
I am not the man to target bloggers, but it is of course to be hoped that we all contribute something substantial to the internet and society in exchange for that great energy need. Making the internet smaller may not really be a solution. After all, that web probably also helps us more than a hand to combat the warming of the planet. Hasn’t the time come to take a look at our digital footprint?
- Blogs and websites that no cat looks at anymore (not even the owners)
- Cat bells, notes, to-do lists, and shopping lists for the grocer
- Articles that were interesting or inspired in the distant past
- Half successful videos
- Embarrassing photos you’d rather not be reminded of
And I’m not even talking about all the useful, sweet, fun, and dredging that we entrust to social media and hardly have any idea about what happens to it.
Does that all have to be lying around in the cloud forever and for three days?? As far as I’m concerned, the time is ripe to be more aware of our need for bits and bytes.
Are influencers leading by example?
Bloggers and other content creators can use their favorite medium for the good cause, that goes without saying. Informing your audience, showing the way to more environmentally friendly alternatives, making people aware of the disadvantages of certain (obvious) choices. And – why not – talk a lot about what readers can do to compensate for their climate-unfriendly behavior.
It should become the new normal to talk about it in your articles. This no longer has to remain the playground of choice for sustainability gurus and other green guys. Do it kindly and somewhat cautiously. So without the raised finger to anyone who – in our eyes – does not have enough climate ambition.
In the coming period, I myself will take a look at everything that I have thrown semi-carelessly into the cloud in recent years. And no, I have no illusions: it is not because Ben van Blogtrommel is suddenly going to make less digital junk that data centers of this world can be 30% smaller.
It is a good exercise as online storage will become a lot more expensive over time.