March 19th is Cyber World Cleanup Day or Digital Cleanup Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness around the environmental impact of our digital lifestyles. Even if you’ve never heard of this global event before, once you’ve read about WCUD’s mission and purpose, you’ll want to do your part to reduce your digital carbon footprint. We’ll walk you through why Cyber World Cleanup Day is so important and what you can do to get involved at both a personal and professional level.
What is Cyber World Cleanup Day?
Digital Cleanup Day is taking place this year on March 19th. It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness of the negative environmental impact that digital technology has and what we can do about it. The day aims to include anyone and everyone, whether they’re an ordinary citizen, school, community, or commercial organization.
What is the point of Digital Cleanup Day?
Although it can be hard to conceptualize, when we use digital technology, we’re creating waste and pollution. Digital waste such as old emails, untouched computer files, and apps you no longer use are all unnecessary electricity drains that are contributing to your carbon footprint. The internet alone produces 900 million tons of CO2 every year.
So, the point of Digital Cleanup Day is to first make people aware of this fact and second to help them take tangible action to reduce their environmental impact. Plus, beyond decreasing our carbon footprints, a lot of the tips they offer are effective ways of extending the lifetime of our digital devices, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
What is the environmental impact of using technology?
According to the BBC, “our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions.” This figure is only projected to increase, especially as digital technologies become an increasingly indispensable part of our daily lives. This is why integrating some sustainable digital practices is so essential. A study by OVO Energy showed that if every British adult sent just one less email per day, the UK would reduce its carbon output by over 16,433 tons.
How to take part in Cyber World Cleanup Day
As we mentioned earlier, Cyber World Cleanup Day is aimed at anyone who uses digital technology and getting involved couldn’t be easier.
How individuals can reduce their digital carbon footprint:
If you’re an individual, here are a couple of ways to get started on your smartphone and computer:
- Delete old apps. If you’ve got apps that you no longer use, then there’s no point in holding on to them. They’re still consuming energy in the background.
- Delete unnecessary photos, screenshots, and any duplicates.
- Sort through files and delete the ones you no longer need.
- Unsubscribe from newsletters that you never get round to reading.
- Sort through your inbox and delete emails you no longer need. If you need to hold on to a copy, archive the email and delete it from your inbox.
- Start sending links to documents rather than large email attachments.
- Try to use your digital device for longer and when it’s no longer usable, make sure to dispose of it properly.
How organizations can get involved in Cyber World Cleanup Day
For organizations, participating in digital cleanup day and implementing its overarching mission will involve more strategic oversight and an overhaul of working practices. Though this may seem overwhelming at first, in the long-run it will be beneficial to your business.
Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll make substantial savings. Here is how to get started:
Strategic overhaul. Take a holistic view of your organization’s digital footprint, looking at video streaming, video meetings, large files, unnecessary email chains. This will help you to map out your digital waste and develop a plan to reduce your carbon footprint.
Implement sustainable practices within your digital workflows. For example, automate the deletion of files that are no longer needed, reduce your reliance on video meetings and commit to raising awareness amongst your employees.
Clear unnecessary files on your backup servers.
Implement company-wide policies such as to stop sending ‘ok’ and ‘thank you emails’.
Run events and encourage your employees to take part. Raise awareness amongst your employees and encourage them to clean out their personal devices too.
Sustainable digital practices for the long-run
Though Cyberworld Cleanup Day is designated as March 19th, its message and mission should extend long beyond this one day. The shifts and habit changes that we mention above are easily implementable and can make a positive long-term difference to both our personal and professional carbon footprints. For those of us working in the IT sector, the responsibility is even greater. Digital Cleanup Day is the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves and become active advocates for sustainable practices within our own industry.