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Five environmental benefits of the online age


The worlds of technology and conservation can often seem to be at odds. They are often seen as antonyms of one another, with nature on one side and the energy-sapping, resource-using, emissions-creating technology on the other.

That might be a convenient image to portray for media outlets looking to stir up emotions, or Hollywood movie directors writing a “rise of the machines” type script, but real life is never quite so clear cut. Used wisely, technology, and in particular the power of the internet, can bring significant benefits to the world around us. Just take a look at the following examples.

Green Building

Information at our fingertips

They don’t call it the information age for nothing. The internet brings us the latest information on the things that matter, from global warming to ocean pollution to deforestation. News pages and blogs mean we have a better handle on what is happening in our world than ever before – and knowing what the biggest threats are is the first step towards doing something about them.

Fewer journeys

Every year, the proportion of Black Friday purchases that takes place online continues to rise. That’s great from a convenience perspective, but it also means a dramatic reduction in the number of cars sitting on congested roads and releasing toxic gases into the environment. But online shopping is just the beginning. Online gaming sites are using innovations such as live casino technologies that mean staying in is “the new going out” when it comes to leisure activities. By meeting up with our friends in the virtual world we can save money and reduce vehicle emissions.

Reduced packaging

Think again about those Black Friday sales. A decade ago, shoppers were crowding into high street chains to buy the latest CDs, DVDs and box sets. Today, these can be streamed or downloaded direct to the end user. Suddenly, there is no need to manufacture physical products, or the plastic and paper packaging in which they are sold. That also means fewer products being shipped by truck. It’s a big problem for the physical retailers, but great news for the planet.

Living a greener life

Every responsible person wants to live a more sustainable life, but it is not always easy to know where to start. The internet brings a wealth of tools that help us to manage our carbon footprints, such as tracking apps, smart meters and downloadable calculators. The fact that these tools generally help us to save money, too, is a nice bonus and provides an added incentive.

Better transparency and accountability

Doing the right thing in our homes is one thing, but we all know it is the big businesses that can have the most significant impact. In the internet age, there is nowhere to hide, and companies are expected to provide annual sustainability reports and to tell the world what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprints. At last, doing the right thing makes sound business sense, and the multinational corporations are taking concrete measures to make a difference.

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