Do you use Facebook? Do you store images, videos, and files online anywhere?
Okay. Stupid questions. The real question should be: to what extent do you do these things?
It’s cool to be connected to everyone you know and to see how they’re doing at any hour of the day. It’s fun to have all these images and videos that you can share with your friends and family.
Plus, all this data gets backed up in multiple locations across the country or globe. So, it’s basically impossible that you could ever lose it.
Wow! Do you remember the old days where you kept all this on a hard drive, nervously sweating and wondering if you’d ever lose the data because of a failure? Or maybe you even have physical photos and VHS tapes, but they’re nearly impossible to find.
Technology sure does a lot to add convenience to your life. But there’s a cost to all this. We’re not talking about the financial cost you may pay a service to store this data (although that’s part of it).
The biggest cost is the pollution the datacenters cause which store all this data. It takes the burning of natural resources to produce the electricity that powers the ability to store that data. And the demand for this has grown faster than the ability to produce the necessary electricity efficiently.
An article at Forbes outlines the problem. US data centers use 90 billion kWh of electricity yearly, which requires the electricity produced by 34 coal power plants. And the real problem is this energy use will double every four years.
You know that as natural resources get burned, pollution gets released into the atmosphere. That leads to more health problems, and may even be changing the climate.
Easy: use as little of this data as possible. Store as little on the cloud as you have to.
Look, you’re not in the wrong to use the cloud and store a little piece of your life there. But, if it’s not an emotionally important photo or video, or if it’s not important to your professional life, get rid of it.
This also reduces operating costs for cloud-based storage services. And it keeps pollution in check.
You have to aim for high standards that involve looking beyond yourself and to the world at large. You personally do benefit from fewer risks to your health and lower costs for cloud-based services, but this one does require you to look a bit beyond the immediate and direct impact to you.
However, when you focus on noble causes like these, you reap emotional benefits that make you feel alive and that you can’t get any other way. It’s quite an amazing emotional high.
Just try it out – and see for yourself!