email problemsGood email etiquette

Stop sending emails, start saving polar bears

Polar bear street scene
Bear saying “Thanks” for sending fewer emails

A study has come out of the University of Lancaster from Mike Berners Lee (yes, brother of Tim). Guardian article

It estimates people in Britain send 64 million unnecessary emails every day and this has a significant impact on the environment.

Surveying 3,000 email users, they found half admitted sending an unnecessary email on a daily basis to a colleague they could walk to.

Top of the unnecessary list was “Thanks” followed by “Have a good weekend”, “Received” and “LOL.”

And how does this impact on the environment?

According to Mike, first off, your computer uses electricity (and your phone needs charging from the grid).  Then when you press send it goes through the network, and it takes electricity to run that network. Finally, it’s probably stored on the cloud somewhere – which is really a data centre which uses a lot of electricity. The carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing.

But surely one little email isn’t going to kill a polar bear? Well, if we all sent one email fewer every day, that could save 16,433 tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.

So if you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint, produce less greenhouse gases, contribute less to climate change and be responsible for the deaths of fewer polar bears – then don’t send that email.

And no need to message me with “Thanks.”