Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: One Email at a Time

Photo by Brett Jordan from Unsplash

You know that recycling saves the planet. Composting, saving water, and using reusable bags do, too. But what about your overflowing email inbox? What about those annoying emails from that random company you signed up for? Using less paper in the pandemic may give you the illusion that you’re being environmentally friendly, but that may not be true.

How does that work? According to Cisco, ”a data center is a physical facility that organizations use to house their critical applications and data.” The data stored in these data centers include emails. But why does this matter?

Unfortunately for the planet, these data centers run on electricity, which is often generated by fossil fuels. states that “to create electricity, fossil fuel power plants are put to work. They do this generally by burning carbon fuels such as coal, oil or gas to generate steam that drives large turbines that in turn produce electricity.” Inevitably, it creates carbon emissions, raising the temperatures of our planet.

One way to reduce carbon emissions is to simply reduce the number of emails stored. You can do this by deleting emails you no longer need. I am guilty of letting my inbox clutter and fill up with unwanted and unread emails. So put some time aside to get your email inbox in order. Today, I deleted 1,537 emails from my student inbox alone and I’m not even halfway done. Another task to do is to unsubscribe from emails that you no longer want to receive.

It can be a hassle for you as busy students and workers to go through your emails and actually organize your inbox. But think of it in a different way. You’re not doing a boring chore. No, you’re doing a good deed for the world, for yourself, and for everyone around you. So give yourself a pat on the back every time you delete an email. We can reduce carbon emissions — one email at a time.