6 tips for making a difference!

Many people’s lives have become increasingly digital due to the pandemic. Conference rooms have been traded for Zoom calls. Without festivals and concerts, staying in and streaming TV shows and films is now an even more common form of entertainment.

Given this trend, we at TIP TOP wanted to explore how we could make our growing amount of time spent online as good for the world as possible. Below you’ll find tips for small changes you can make in three different areas that will help decrease your digital carbon footprint.

Search engines

In recent years there have been a growing number of search engines that are dedicated to using the revenue they produce to help environmental causes. So if you’re looking for an alternative to Google (which, to be fair, does try to offset its carbon footprint) and want to help support something you believe in, you may want to give one a try.

Here are two tips for environmentally-focused search engines:

1. Ocean Hero – A search engine that puts 50% of its profits toward keeping plastic out of the earth’s oceans.

2. Ecosia – A search engine dedicated to reforestation. Profits go toward planting trees in regions that need them most and all the company’s servers run on 100% renewable energy.

Video streaming

The majority of internet traffic comes from video consumption, and the pandemic only made that traffic heavier. Streaming services YouTube and Netflix, for example, both saw over 15% more traffic in the early part of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019.

Back in 2018, internet video streaming produced about the same amount of carbon emissions as the country of Spain.

Here are our two tips to make your video streaming better for the world:

1. Watch in lower resolution, not HD – The higher the resolution of a video, the more energy it takes to stream. If you have the option to watch a video not in HD (an option on all YouTube videos), doing so will help reduce your digital carbon footprint. If you rent movies or shows to watch online on a platform like Amazon, non-HD versions of videos are actually cheaper, too.

2. Only stream videos when you’re actually watching – Not using video streaming services simply as background noise or as something to fall asleep to can save a lot of energy.

Music streaming

Just like videos, music requires energy to be streamed directly to our phones, computers, and other devices. Amazingly, streaming music is so popular that people’s current listening habits are having a larger negative impact on the environment than when plastic-cased CDs were the norm.

Here are our two tips to make your music streaming better for the world:

1. Download instead of stream – If you plan to hear a song more than once, it takes less energy to download the song to your device than it does to stream it. This is because you won’t be streaming a song from a distant server, something that requires more energy than playing a song downloaded to your device.

2. Don’t use YouTube for music streaming – Many people use YouTube just to play music, but video streaming consumes far more energy than streaming a song. To reduce energy consumption when you only want to hear music, make sure to use a service that only streams audio instead of YouTube. Apple Music is one of the most environmentally friendly music streaming services.

Vocabulary

to become increasingly digital – wird zunehmend digitaler

due to – wegen

pandemic – Pandemie

common form of – geläufige Form von

to explore – erforschen

to decrease – reduzieren

carbon footprint – Kohlenstoffbilanz

search engines – Suchmaschinen

dedicated to using sth. to – dazu bestimmt sein, etwas einzusetzen/benutzen für (dedicated+verb+ing)

revenues – Einnahmen

try to offset – versuchen etwas auszugleichen

reforestation – Aufforstung

renewable energy – erneuerbare Energie

majority – Mehrheit

video consumption – Videokonsum

compared to – verglichen zu

carbon emission – Kohleausstoß

lower resolution – niedrige Auflösung

as background noise – als Hintergrundgeräusch

to fall asleep – einschlafen

so popular – so beliebt

current listening habits – derzeitige Hörgewohnheiten

impact on – Auswirkung auf

more than once – mehr als einmal

device – Gerät

to require more energy – erfordert mehr Energie

to consume – verbrauchen

to tackle – angehen

Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.