When the Internet replaces an activity that’s more harmful for the environment, such as reading an article online instead of printing it, it’s beneficial. However, the Internet is not carbon neutral. According to some sources, the Internet accounts for two percent of global CO2 emissions, and 3 percent of US electricity consumption (1). Scientists and engineers are working to reduce that impact. People have been working to increase processor power, while reducing energy demand. So keep in mind that the Internet does emit greenhouse gases, but can be better for the environment than other activities. Most importantly, turn your computer off when it’s not in use, as the computer is also a culprit in sucking up energy.
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The internet has helped the growth of virtual assistant jobs. Companies can assign people certain tasks that can be done at home or an alternate location not as far as the company office. Paper use can reduced and there is no need to commute to work, saving on gas. However as mentioned above, be familiar with your computer’s energy saving features or turn it off when not in use.
The internet itself, as pperlin said, helps by reducing the environmental impact of activities it replaces. However, beyond energy usage, the creation of computers and servers requires some exotic metals that can be very environmentally damaging. Remember to recycle your e-waste to reduce the impact.
Of course there are always pros and cons of the internet, but I can immediately think of positive ways the internet has effected the environment as opposed to damaging it. A lot of reading information can be done on the internet, saving trees and reducing the amount of paper we use. Companies have been able to offer online billing, which reduces the paper bills sent via mail. I have also been able to learn a lot about the environment and being eco friendly through information I’ve found on the internet, which is very useful.
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