How to Handle Digital Data to Reduce Global Warming (Part II)

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

You can notice that online video is designed with an auto-play function and is embedded in other social media channels. These functions are called ‘addictive design’, a design to be addicting, as it aims to provide massive contents to consumers. Consequently, the design is one of the important factors indicating online video consumption behavior and its effect on the environment (which is usually overlooked during the design procedure.) Therefore, online video consumption does not solely depend on consumers’ behavior, but also service designs of providers. To reduce the use of digital technology effectively, it requires productive usage in terms of providers’ service design and the decision to reduce digital usage of consumers. As it is not enough to rely on either side to promote digital sobriety while the Earth is currently being destroyed every single day as a result of climate crisis.

For digital service providers—especially video streaming providers, service design should be environment-friendly, namely, providing appropriate video resolution or using an analog television broadcast which has an effect on the environment less than live video streaming.

For individual, watch online video with awareness. Choose the lowest resolution, avoid uploading video to the cloud as it will instantly create data replication which requires electricity consumption. Do not keep video on the cloud for too long. Delete useless ones or make offline copy for significant videos. Avoid viewing online video with mobile data connection because it will consume more electrical power to boost the signal when encountering the signal-loss. Wi-Fi or broadband internet through fiber glass uses electricity more efficiently.

For other associations starting from consumers, service providers, government and corporate sectors as well as NGO, locally and internationally, the proper establishment of division for setting up policy and guidance may be needed to open up opportunity for all sectors to suggest ideas and discuss in the necessity of online video usage as well as pros and cons of digital technology usage in long term for sustainable use to reduce the acceleration on global warming crisis.

In my opinion, the suggestion from The Shift Project had brought much of interest. If we take action, it may relieve the crisis. But the awaiting obstacles and challenges are the urgency to solve global warming crisis within the limited time. Coordination from all sectors, acceptance of the significance of problem, and guidance for solutions in terms of culture and social value require time, determination and patient.

Personally, I surely believe the sustainable way to solve this problem should begin with “awareness”. If we share correct understandings on global warming crisis and its urgency, the responsibility from the smallest circle of the society can create a big wave that leads to the sustainable and effective solution. That is to be aware of our own behavior, what do we watch online video for and how can we use it in a way that has the least effect on our Earth?