PKG Social Impact Intern Publishes Blog Post with Bow Seat

PKG Social Impact Intern Aileen Han ’24 (Course 6) recently published a blog post as part of their internship with Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs. In Surprisingly Simple Steps for Surfing the Internet Sustainably, Aileen explains the colossal energy expenditure from internet usage and promotes ways to balance the carbon footprints of websites for web developers and general-users alike.

Image: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

What comes to mind when you picture the sources of carbon emissions? Perhaps a gas-guzzling car? Or a factory that spews out thick clouds of smoke? There is another hidden source that we must be wary of, however, especially as technology continues to advance: internet usage.

The internet requires data centers, networks for transmitting data, and devices on which websites are accessed. All of these use a lot of electricity, and producing this electricity creates the internet’s carbon footprint. How much energy is needed, though? An enormous amount! In fact, the amount of electricity required by the internet is very close to the total amount that the UK consumes! And this energy expenditure is only growing as remote work and school necessitates virtual meetings and online assignments.

Since the internet’s energy usage is easy to ignore or forget, websites should be carefully designed to reduce the amount of resources they need. According to the Sustainable Web Manifesto, there are 6 major principles that all web developers can follow to ensure that their website is as sustainable as possible:

  • Clean – the site should use renewable energy to power both its provided services and the resources it uses
  • Efficient – the site should use the least amount of energy and other resources as possible
  • Open – information should be accessible to all users, and users should control their own data
  • Honest – the design of the site and the resources it provides should not be misleading or deceptive
  • Regenerative – the resources provided by the site should support the people and the planet
  • Resilient – the resources provided by the site should be available in the times and places when they are needed the most

With these principles in mind, web designers can be sure that they are on the right track for improving their website’s carbon footprint. They can even test how “green” their website is, as well as find out which areas they can improve on, with online tools like Ecograder and Website Carbon Calculator!

Read Aileen’s full blog post on Bow Seat

Tags: Climate Change, PKG Alumni, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2022, Tech for Good

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