How reviewing your email activity can help conserve the environment

Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility — and something that we can incorporate in our daily life, especially in our online activities. Did you know that your online activity contributes to global carbon emissions too?

The ClimateCare organisation says that internet traffic around the world has tripled since 2015. Meanwhile, there are over 4 billion active internet users today. With this heavy worldwide usage, it can be startling to think about the effects the internet has on the environment when you understand its impact.

Did you know that internet data makes up 2% of global CO2 emissions? Even your email habits, which make up an essential part of work and daily activity, can contribute to a growing digital carbon footprint. Sending and receiving an email actually gives off 0.3g of CO2 emissions and an email with attachments emits 50g of CO2.

Overall, our digital usage makes up 3.7% of carbon emissions — similar to what the airline industry produces. If that doesn’t give you a clearer picture of how much we are emitting, then think about this: that equates to over 1 billion tonnes of carbon being released each year, or as much as the emissions that Africa produces.

If you think that’s large, it doesn’t end there. These carbon emissions from online activity are predicted to double by 2025 — to nearly 8% of carbon emissions worldwide!

We all have a part to play in conserving our world. One substantial way we can make our online habits more sustainable is through digital decluttering.

Digital decluttering is an audit of your online and digital activity — clearing and organising online “clutter” that consumes data, which in turn consumes more power. Decluttering digitally not only helps you organise and stay focused; it lowers your energy and data consumption, therefore decreasing your carbon footprint.

Save the earth by purging clutter from your digital life

By doing simple modifications to your online habits, you can digitally declutter and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few examples:

Limit “Reply all”

A typical business user creates about 135kg carbon footprint each year; the more emails you send, the more emissions you create. Before looping in a large group in an email thread, think about this: Do all these people really need to see this email? This may help you decide better on your email recipients and help keep their inboxes lean - would anyone say no to fewer emails?

Rethink attachments

Emails with attachments give off 50g of carbon emissions, almost a whopping 167 times more than emails without attachments. Are they really necessary? Compress images and videos to a smaller size, or better yet, use file-sharing links whenever possible.

Conserve your video streaming habits

Online video usage creates over 300 million tons of CO2 each year and represents 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from digital devices. You can mitigate this by pausing videos if you have to step away from them. You can also opt to stream video at a lower but watchable quality (4K resolution uses about 30% more energy), or download videos you want to watch in advance.

Get rid of old apps you haven’t touched in a year

If you have not opened these applications in a year, you’re unlikely to open them again any time soon. Deleting old apps frees up storage and lowers data usage.

Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer need

Your favourite and not-so-favourite brands send about 1 to 4 emails each week — some, even more. In fact, half of your massive inbox may be newsletters you no longer need.

If the idea of unsubscribing one by one in your massive inbox is daunting, Yahoo Mail’s features are designed to help you digitally declutter with ease and can help you do your part in lowering your carbon footprint:

  • Yahoo Mail’s exclusive Unsubscribe tab can help you sort through all your unsubscribed newsletters in one place. This also shows you the number of emails sent weekly by a mailing list so you can unsubscribe in a single click.

  • Thanks to the “Attachments” view function, users can easily sort, organise, access and navigate all mail attachments on one tab, regardless of formats. This allows for convenient referencing after downloading and also easier decluttering when attachments are no longer needed.

  • Yahoo Mail’s robust search feature helps you easily find unwanted emails by sender or subject line

  • Group deleting and creating email filters helps you quickly sort through a large inbox and target a bulk of emails you no longer need

How Yahoo is helping to raise awareness for reducing carbon footprint efforts

At Yahoo, as we help connect people to their passions through new possibilities, we do realise that this comes with ensuring that there will be more of the world for future generations to enjoy.

Earth Day falls on April 22 and in solidarity with this worldwide event, Yahoo would like to take part by acting against the looming climate crisis.

As digital activity contributes to carbon emissions, Yahoo is helping to raise awareness on reducing digital carbon footprint and encouraging users to declutter digitally. By pledging your commitment to declutter digitally and improve your email habits, you can do your part in lowering carbon emissions and help shed light on how others can do the same.

In further support of the community’s efforts to declutter digitally, Yahoo will be planting 1 tree for every 25 pledges via their initiative partner, Treedom, with a goal of planting 200 trees.

Treedom is the world’s first platform that allows you to plant a tree from a distance and follow the story of the tree-planting project it belongs to online. Since its foundation in 2010 in Florence, more than 3 million trees have been planted in Africa, South America, Asia, and Italy.

Once the trees are planted, you can follow their story from nursery to the ground on the Yahoo Forest page.

Learn how you can pledge your support to #DeclutterWithYahoo to lower your digital carbon footprint and help plant 200 trees today by visiting our #YahooEarthDay campaign homepage.