Over the past few years, hundreds of people have died in climate change-related natural disasters all over the world and experts say it will only keep getting worse if measures are not taken.
From summer of fire and record floods to freak frosts and locust invasions, experts say man-made climate change is wreaking havoc on the world's weather.
But what does that have to do with web development?
Should you as a web developer do anything, apart from putting your PC/Mac to sleep, when you leave it for lunch?
Well, it's relevant for everyone, but it's important for web developers, because we develop websites for the internet — that currently consumes 416.2TWh annually.
That's more energy than the entire UK!
According to Website Carbon :
The average web page tested produces 1.76 grams CO2 per page view. For a website with 10,000 monthly page views, that's 211 kg CO2 per year.
When you think of the major industries contributing to those emissions, few suspects that come to mind are energy, aviation, agriculture etc. But you will be surprised that global internet usage contributes to ~3% of global carbon emissions which is equivalent to carbon emissions of the entire aviation industry.
Did you know we need to cut by 60% of our net global emissions by 2060 to stabilize the climate and prevent catastrophic effects from global climate change? And that’s a conservative estimate.
Let's have a look at some of the things we can easily do:
- Choose a green hosting provider
To know whether you are using green hosting provider or not, you can visit The Green Web Foundation
If your website is green, you receive a flair!
- Choose a green CDN
For CDN's, almost the same principles apply, as when choosing a hosting provider.
You shouldn't have to worry about the location of the CDN, as most of them have locations all over the world, and thus will place your data close to it's core user base.
- Prevent battery-drain
- Reduce network-traffic
The most important thing you can do to lower your website carbon emissions, is by reducing the network-traffic on your site.
Some of the implementations that we can do are use of lazy loading images, responsive images correctly, lazy loading videos, do not auto play videos, caching strategies.
- Simplify the user-journey
I think everyone have tried to look for "shipping cost" on an ecommerce-site, and, not being able to find any relevant information, added an item to the basket.
With _still _no info on "shipping-cost", I've personally then filled out dummy contact-details until I _finally _reached a page with the calculated shipping-cost — which were then too high, and I abandoned the site!
I've no idea what the carbon emission footprint is for all these sites with miserable user-journeys, but I assume it's a lot!
So, focus on simplifying the user journey and provide insights and information as easily as possible!
The web can be sustainable, and in making it sustainable, we can ensure that its treasures are available and accessible to all, now and into the future. The web is the largest, publicly-accessible library we have ever known. It’s worth asking ourselves — what can we do to make sure that it lasts, for generations to come?
- Test your own website at websitecarbon.com
- Sustainablewebdesign.org is a fantastic resource, with detailed strategies you can employ as a designer, developer, or company leader.
- A Book Apart has a whole book on it!
Thanks for reading!
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