Since the popularlity of the internet, everyone now spends a lot more time at their computers, which translates to more energy usage. Computers now make for about 2% of CO2 emissions, or as much as the aviation industry.
On the other side of the coin, the internet has served as a great medium for mobilizing green movements, as well as for sharing and acessing information about climate change and environmental issues. So the internet both hurts and helps the environment in different ways.
The internet has also greatly reduced the amount of paper need in business/official communications. E-coupons, e-bank statements, e-mails, are just a few examples, and all reduce the amount of trees that are being made into paper. The internet has also allowed for e-readers, which will even do more to reduce dependency on paper, as well as the energy it uses to make and transport books.
In addition to the posts from langg and mcosta, the internet (as we can well judge) makes it possible for huge amounts of information to be spread in a short time. Internet makes it possible for many people to telecommute and thusly take more cars off the road as they work from home. Sype, and other sites like it, is also dedicated to the lessening of travel and travel expenses–helping to make long distance communication more sustainable.
Sites like iTunes are environmentally friendly in that they allow the purchasing of music as files from an online source. Plastic used in manufacturing and packaging is then eliminated–making the music industry that much more sustainable.
Online shopping has impacted the environment in a good and bad way. Now that everyone can buy almost anything they want on the internet, there is less of a need to build stores to house those products. This reduces the number of cars and busses and other energy needed to travel to the store. This reduces the environmental impact of constructing and maintaining a building. However, because people are buying from sources farther and farther away from their area, there is a greater need for long distance travel, primarily through planes and long haul trucks. This increase has its environmental impact. I think the internet has making shopping a lot more convenient because of the choices available, ease of use and time saving. But it still has a lot of environmental impacts because natural resources are still being consumed.
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