There’s been a lot of guff about the carbon cost of Google searching during the last couple of days, with the debate prompted by research from a Harvard academic, which suggests two Google searches produces the equivalent C02 as boiling a kettle. If you’ve found this post through a Google search, I hope you’re enjoying your ‘equivalent’ of half a cup of tea.
The research doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know – in short, searching for stuff, using energy-hungry computers and data centres, eats a lot of power. So, I started thinking about stuff we’re doing that eats power – especially the stuff that is meant to be green.
Take Christmas cards, for example. No one posts Christmas cards anymore (except my wife and her Mum). People send emails, Facebook pokes and electronic cards – it’s meant to convey the same message and can be sent with a cheery: ‘I am saving the environment by not posting a paper card’.
Except you’re not, because all this electronic stuff eats carbon, too. And it’s rubbish anyway – cards are much nicer and much more personal. And I bet posting a card causes less of a drag on resources that all those tweets, emails and pokes. Long live the Christmas card!