Internet – growing to surpass television – should be powered with clean energy

by David Pomerantz

August 5, 2013

Activist at a gathering organized by Greenpeace with the aim to set a Guinness World Record of 50,000 comments on a single Facebook post, urging the social networking giant to start powering its services with renewable energy sources and stop using coal.

© Peter Soerensen / Greenpeace

Action against Facebook in Copenhagen

A new study shows that U.S. adults spend more time with digital media now than they do watching television.

This is only the latest research that shows the phenomenal rate at which Internet usage is growing, here in the US and around the world.

So, what does all this Internet growth mean for the environment? Thats still an open question, but the stakes are high: If the Internet were a country, it would rank fifth in the world for the amount of electricity it needs, and its hunger for power is only going up as more people go online.

That electricity demand doesnt need to be a bad thing. If the companies that control the infrastructure behind the Internet choose to power their networks with clean energy from the wind and sun, then Internet growth could be the engine that drives clean energy growth in the 21st century. And just as the Internet has totally disrupted how we consume entertainment, communicate, and find new information, clean energy can totally disrupt the older, dirtier ways that weve powered our lives and provide a solution to the climate crisis.

Some companies, like Apple, Facebook and Google are already taking the lead on powering the Internet with clean energy, while others, like Amazon, are bringing up the rear by continuing to use dirty coal-fired energy.

We make the Internet. We should get to choose to power it with clean energy. Tell Internet companies you want a clean, green Internet.

David Pomerantz

By David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is a former Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in San Francisco. He helps lead Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

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