Plant trees with your online search engine

Many things you do in your daily life release some amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. We all already know of the biggest culprits, like driving, the impact of the foods you buy, the energy you use at home etc.

But what about using your laptop? Or your smartphone?

The effects of electrical appliances rarely get as much attention as the above mentioned things. Maybe they also shouldn’t have, because it seems like the negative impact of using electricity is significantly less than driving for example.

But the interesting thing about laptops, other PCs and smartphones is that they are… always there.

They’re there when you wake up, when you’re at work, when you’re at home and when you go to bed. They are like extensions of our limbs and it is sometimes unthinkable to be without them.

Maybe that’s why their damaging effects go largely unnoticed? Not because we don’t know or because there isn’t enough information out there, but simply because we don’t want to know.

Now, like I mentioned previously, maybe there’s no need to panic and shut everything down completely since the effects of driving are much larger and more detrimental to the climate and the environment than using your laptop for an hour.

Still, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think about the smaller things from time to time.

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How do I limit the environmental impact of my smartphone and laptop use?

There are a couple of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint in the “technical realm” (as I like to call it cause it gives it an air of mystery…). Below are three useful tips:

Turn off

I think a lot of us (my own hypocritical self included) have formed a habit of simply letting our PCs or laptops switch to standby-mode when we’re not using them. Even though it seems like today’s computers still use very little electricity when in standby-mode, it uses 0 when turned off.

Unplug

Leaving your computer or phone plugged in even after it has fully charged also uses additional electricity which is not needed. Unplug your appliances when they have finished charging and your wallet and the environment will thank you (at least a little bit but that counts too!).

Limit using time

I know this one is a given and (potentially) makes you feel like a child. Who are you to tell me when to use and not use my phone? you might ask yourself.

Fair enough. I can tell you as much as I want that I think you should cut down your screen time, but chances are you’re not going to listen to me.

Hell, I don’t even listen to me when I tell myself to cut my screen time.

But what I can to is to ask you to check out the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. It made me go on a screen detox for almost a whole month last year.

And yes, I do see the irony in the whole thing. Reducing your screen time by first increasing it? It is a little silly if you think about it, but if you’re going to watch Netflix tonight anyway, you might as well watch the Social Dilemma.

Switching search engines

Finally some positive news that doesn’t involve me having to change my behavior! Phew.

Joke aside, this is actually a very easy thing to change in your daily use of technology.

Search engines are great but I’d like to introduce you to one that is greater than many others – at least in terms of environmental impact: Ecosia.

The environmental impact of search engines

Ecosia is a different type of search engine, one that – as opposed to traditional ones – offers a way for you to mitigate the environmental effects while you’re using the internet.

So, how is this done?

You probably have it figured out already as the answer is in the title of this post: by planting trees.

When you make an online-searches, Ecosia earns a profit from search-ads. All search engines get this, but the difference is that Ecosia use their profit to give back something good to the planet.

They plant trees in Africa, Asia, Central- and South America and Europe in the places where trees are needed the most.

So while you’re using the internet anyway, you might as well switch your Google searches for Ecosia.

One thing I will say though is that Ecosia does not always give as relevant results as Google does. But it gets better and better every month.

Try it out for yourself by downloading the browser-extension from your app- or web store! Or just go straight to www.ecosia.org.

***This post is not sponsored in any way. I just really like the concept that Ecosia brings.***

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