The Ottawa Women's Canadian Club

OWCC Helping to Protect The Planet

In September 2019, the OWCC heard from Chantal Plamondon and Jay Sinha on Life Without Plastic.  We were all struck by the multitude of ways in which we are knowingly and unknowingly damaging the planet using products containing large and small plastic particles.

One year later, we thought we would continue this theme of protecting our planet and proudly boast about the conscious choice the Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club has made recently in selecting our GREEN website development team.

Let’s start with some surprising facts.

It is likely that most of us have already sent a few e-mails today, done an internet search, or watched a video on YouTube or social media. That isn’t so surprising. But what might be surprising to many of us is that each of these actions created a few grams of carbon dioxide emission. In fact, the average working professional produces 135kg of CO2e (carbon footprint unit) just from sending e-mails every year – this is equivalent to driving from Ottawa to Toronto! This emission is due to the energy needed to run your devices, to operate the wireless networks you access, and most importantly to power the data centres and vast servers needed to support the internet and store the content we access over it. 

Data centres run 24/7. Not only do they consume enormous amounts of energy, but in order to prevent them from overheating and shutting down, they are constantly exposed to intense air conditioning which consumes even more energy.  In 2012, there were 500,000 data centres worldwide.  In 2019, there were over 8 million data centers worldwide, a 16-fold increase in just 7 years. Presently, the carbon footprint of our devices, the internet, and the data centers supporting them account for approximately 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. This is roughly the same amount as the global airline industry, and is predicted to double by 2025.

What are we doing about it? 

The OWCC has teamed up with TimLey Website Design, an eco-friendly web development team. TimLey designs and hosts websites in an environmentally conscious way. More specifically, they host their websites using GreenGeeks which purchases 3 times the amount of energy they consume in wind-powered energy and reinvests it into the grid to power data centres.

What can you do to help?  Here are two simple things you can do today.

  1. Send fewer unnecessary emails. Did you know, “if every adult in the UK sent one less “thank you” email, it could save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – the equivalent to taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road”? -BBC
  2. Educate yourself on the problem and what are the major contributors. Here are 3 great resources to get you started:

Going Green With GreenGeeks®

There is no doubt that computers, cell phones and data servers are here to stay but perhaps we can try to use them less to help protect the planet a little more!

Shauna Deamond

Dr. Mike Hazas
1st class BA Hons Sociology, Lancaster University (2008) 
Doctor of Philosophy Mobile Computing, University of Cambridge (2003) 
Master of Philosophy Signal Processing, University of Cambridge (1999) 
1st class BSc Electrical Engineering (1998)