By Evan Ackerman
Last week, a Harvard researcher estimated that every time you look for something on Google, it produces 7 grams of CO2. This is about the same amount of CO2 as is expended by the amount of energy it takes to boil a kettle of water. The report also included other scary numbers, like even looking at a web page is polluting the environment at the rate of 0.2 grams of CO2 per second.
I suppose maybe the point of all this is to raise awareness about the impact of technology on the environment or something, but really, what are we supposed to do? Just breathing produces something like 0.01 grams of CO2 per second. OMG EVERYBODY PANIC! Really, though, you have to think about these numbers in larger context rather than freaking out about them. When was the last time you looked for something in the yellow pages, for example? Or spent time on the phone asking for directions to places? Or traveled to different stores to compare prices on things?
There’s no denying that services like Google specifically, and computers in general, suck up power and to some extent aren’t great for the environment. But just about everything short of planting a tree isn’t great for the environment… The important thing is to be generally aware of the impact of your lifestyle, and try to mitigate things where possible. And sometimes services like Google can help you with that, by enabling you to locate information faster and more efficiently.
So, don’t freak out, and click here. You’ll feel a little better.