If you are a professional translator, like us, you will spend a lot of time in front of your computer and hours browsing web pages. Whether using lexicons, dictionaries or websites, you will be accessing these regularly to look up information to complete your translation projects. Undoubtedly you will have frequent communication by email with your customers or colleagues with this being a day to day essential part of the job. It will also incorporate your reliance on them getting back to you in the same manner.
Did you know that if the Internet was a nation, it would be the third largest polluter in the world, after China and the United States? According to international researchers, in a few decades, our Earth may face a “breaking point” with temperatures rising by 4 to 5 degrees. We are all responsible for this and there are ways we can help minimize our environmental footprint as a translator.
What is digital pollution?
Every hour, about 10 billion emails are sent around the world.
Through sending a single email, a series of events are set into motion, including its storage. Then if we consider what goes into the running of the entire Internet network, the computer servers that run this network operate 24/7, all year round. We realize data centres consume a huge amount of energy, as well as the servers where your email messages are stored. This whole process contributes to high levels of digital pollution, thus your environmental footprint may be a lot higher than you expect!
For every 1 Mb sent, it is equivalent to 15 grams of CO2! If you send 30 emails daily to different recipients for a year, this equates to the same emissions that would be used by a car covering several thousand miles.
The French ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie) informs us that a company with a 100 members of staff, generates the equivalent of 13.6 tons of CO2 each year, just by sending emails. This equates to the same as 14 return flights between Paris and New York!
We also need to take into consideration the excess wasted energy that all the spam emails generate; once this is factored in the effects increase significantly further… On a yearly basis, worldwide, spam emails use as much energy as more than 2 million American households!
Did you know that the word “spam” was the acronym for “Spiced Pork And Meat”, an unappetizing food served as a daily ration to the American soldiers during World War 2? It is easy to see how its use in this current context was established! The term was popularized by the Monty Python show, in one of their wacky comedies.
What can be done to reduce this pollution?
Nowadays, it has become impossible for us to live and work without this technology. But we can reduce the environmental footprint of our professional activity. Just as you are sure to be doing in your private life, by recycling your garbage and not throwing it into our natural habitat or by not printing everything you receive and using unnecessary paper…
An eco-responsible translation agency takes care of our environment, thinking about the future and how we will leave it to our children.
An example of how we could make a change would be to unsubscribe to any of the many newsletters that we all receive. It is likely that you have signed up to receive regular articles or blogs because once in the past something about the company caught your attention or because you signed an online petition… To which you now hold no interest in and don’t take any notice of, ignoring these incoming messages and filtering them to our junk mail folders. How many messages do you receive daily, weekly or monthly that you never read and simply delete? Unsubscribing will reduce the number of messages sent… There are free services (yes, on the Internet…) that allow you to clean your inbox and/or unsubscribe from these messages, for example, https://unroll.me or https://www.cleanfox.io. The latter also allows you to plant a tree for each person registered through you! And if you’re looking for an alternative to Google for your web searches, try out Ecosia.
Imagine the impact that could be made if we all committed to reducing our environmental footprint by cutting back personally on our Internet usage. Looking at these 10 simple tips could help with more ideas on how.
The Earth and your children will be grateful for your efforts!