Podcast: IRL by Mozilla / Episode: The Internet's Carbon Footprint

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Interesting discussion on measuring the carbon footprint of various internet activities and the implications for our culture’s carbon footprint as the internet grows. Interesting topics include:

  • Static html being more environmentally friendly than dynamic pages.
  • The carbon footprint of transmitting a single podcast episode like this very one.
  • 78 rpm records manufactured from insect shellac being the lowest footprint form of music transmission.
  • Streaming media being terribly energy inefficient.
  • An interview with Ecosia
  • Greenpeace Click Clean reports on various megacorps.

Ooh, I’ll have to listen to that!

An interesting idea along these same lines would be Low-Tech Magazine’s solar powered website.

Love that they show the battery monitor and the attitude that “this site goes down sometimes at night and when the weather is bad. That’s okay!”

This is cited in the podcast!


I’ve listened to it twice, once on my own and once with my family. I wanted to say two quick things:

  1. It kind of inspired me to double-down on simple web tech.
  2. I think this is a very nice and well produced podcast with hilarious statements showing the bias of a web browser developer!

Of course, I download all my podcasts to a single device and reference it over and over without re-downloading. :sunglasses:

When I have a sec, I’d like to break out discussion around some of those resources they listed. :slight_smile:


Apparently it’d be best record them once to insect-shellac 78s!


To be fair, everything is better on insect-shellac 78s!

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A burning question I have: torrenting, same, more, or less energy?

Or sneakernet?! If I download an episode of that podcast and share it via SD card, less carbon footprint? (Those puns write themselves.)

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Im guessing their is n optimal bittorrent speed where the speed of the download shortens the length of time your burning energy, but if you exceed it then your burning more power via the sheer amount of packets your consuming from others. Though I dont know how one would calculate it.

If I listen to this podcast will I feel guilty about my fiber connection? Because if so, I don’t wanna listen!!

They acctually explain Mozillas has purchased the carbon offsets to make transmitting this season of the show carbon neutral, based on average transmission speeds.

So this is the ONE podcast you can listen to guilt free.

Youll just feel wierd about everything else you do online for a while. HA!

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It’s made me happy I haven’t spun up as many Discourse instances as I have ideas for. I think talkgroup scales up impact on a social level, while using the same amount of energy.

I also think I’ll ask for carbon offsets when ever asking for donations for various servers. That would be a neat way to calculate one’s own usage.

…game servers anyone? :confounded:

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This makes me want to double down on my RPi server farm idea at mah house! ~5W only per Pi.


This stuff had me thinking in general about thoughts I had about moving more stuff to solar cell power. Like most game servers id be interested in could run off a single board computer I imagine. Wasn’t @tim going to solar power a raspberry pi at some point?


Oh man, I was/am! Maybe I should move up the time table. What is holding me back is that I’ll need to set up one as a reverse proxy to handle multiple domains hitting my same IP address and routing to the correct Pi. But nginx does it well so I hear.

I actually need to get some more Pis, my top-tier one is currently a RetroPie configuration and that isn’t going to change. I have a Pi 2 B+ that I can use for the reverse proxy, just need one more for the ‘web server’ role.

I know that I could just use my existing one as the web server, but then when I need to scale it’ll be a super pain to change it all. I’d rather get it done “the right way” the first time. (famous last words).

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Do we got a quest for that? Good place to start to track incremental progress.

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Probably. Though my own blog engine thingy handles that kind of todo system really well.

… huh actually this is the exact reason why I made it this way. Literally for the Pi hosting project.

I’m running out of excuses! :sweat_drops: