Author: Salvatore Corradi – FM Chairman
Since the early seventies, thanks to Ray Tomlison (the brilliant inventor of the famous “at” sign), exchanging messages and communications via e-mail has become one of the most common acts in most work environments. Around 10 billion emails are sent every day around the world, yet behind this so common gesture lies a problem that should not be underestimated.
Being digital is not enough to not pollute, in fact, although it seems absurd to even think so, if each of us decides to send one less email a day, we would save about 16,433 tons of carbon per year. Yes, emails pollute and not a little!
The Verbraucher Service Bayern stated that an e-mail without attachments emits about 10 grams of carbon dioxide, the same impact of a plastic bag or that caused if you leave a light bulb on for 24 hours. Who would have thought that a simple click on the submit button could have such shocking repercussions?
The reasons for this serious environmental impact can be traced back to the fact that the data contained in the e-mails we exchange pass through thousands of cables and servers active at any time of day and night. They need a lot of electricity to work and to be kept at the right temperature (not counting the energy consumed by the computers on which we all work). To cite again some data: an e-mail travels about 15,000 kilometers of cables to reach its destination. In addition, other studies inform us that 1 MB sent corresponds to approximately 15 grams of CO2, which is why depending on the weight of the emails exchanged the impact can vary.
At this point, a question arises: are emails so essential that we cannot at least limit the consumption? It is certainly unthinkable to expect the entire world population to stop exchanging e-mail overnight, however, it is possible to take small precautions.
First of all, just try to reduce unnecessary emails as much as possible, as well as reduce the number of colleagues and recipients to copy. Regularly emptying your email and spam box helps a lot in limiting the amount of data stored on servers, as they are all excess files that take up space and consequently consume energy. If you find it necessary to keep extremely important emails, you may want to copy them to a local folder on your email software.
Through these small gestures, you would limit consumption and you would also help the environment.