Share article:
Share article:

Online meetings: turn off the webcam to help the planet

© Pixabay

Online meetings are all the rage in these teleworking times, but meetings without webcams would vastly improve our ecological footprint, according to research from two American universities.

A meeting without cameras would not only save you having to tidy up, it would also lead to a cleaner world. Researchers from Purdue and Yale universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at the ecological footprint of various online activities. The footprint was made up of CO2 emissions, as well as water and land use.

The analysis took in major social media such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, but also gaming platforms and other media.

The results showed that video makes up a huge part of our online footprint. One hour of online meetings with webcam produces 150-1,000g of CO2, uses up 2-12 litres of water and consumes a piece of land the size of an iPad.

Switch off the webcam, and your footprint is cut by 96% at a stroke.

Outside of meetings, the research shows, a simple switch from high-definition video to standard quality could cut your footprint by 86%.

The research discovered some regional variations. Internet use in the US, for example, produces about 9% more CO2 than for example Germany, but uses up 45% less water and 58% less land.

Germany, on the other hand, produces much less CO2 than the world median, because of its level of renewable energy. But it also uses more water and land.

According to estimates, the worldwide increase in the use of the internet for all purposes has gone up by as much as 20% since the start of the pandemic. If that trend, once established, were to continue to the end of this year, the researchers estimate, it would take a forest covering 185,000 square kilometres to make up for the CO2 produced as a result.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...