It’s something we don’t always think about, but using power has an effect on the environment, as does nearly everything we do. From the paper we use to the equipment we buy, what we consume and what the companies we shop from do with the things we trade in or recycle matters.
So when it comes to blogging, we have to think about the impact it has on the environment. Starting a website that is “green’ has to do with a lot more than just choosing and purchasing a domain name. It has to do with how your site is hosted, where servers get their energy from, and even how and where you blog.
Here are some effective methods to help minimize your blog’s environmental impact.
Check Out Your Host
Not all hosts are created equal. First of all, there are two different types of hosting, and each comes with its own environmental cost. The first is shared hosting, which is the most common and environmentally friendly type, at least on the surface. This is when your website shares server space with other websites. As long as you don’t have a huge amount of traffic, it will serve your needs, while reducing the amount of power you generate, saving environmental pollution from the production of non-renewable energy.
The other kind of hosting is dedicated hosting, which means your site has its own server. This, of course, takes more energy than sharing a server with others, but if you have a lot of traffic to your site and want to minimize downtime, it is essential.
The important thing is to know where your host gets their server space. Some have their own servers, others use Microsoft, Google, Oracle or Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers. Many of these large server farms consume large amounts of energy, but many of them are also powered by solar, wind, or other forms of clean energy.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a large amount of server space for your blog; in fact, I sincerely hope that your blog becomes so successful that you have to upgrade to a dedicated host, but by being conscious of who you choose to work with, and thoroughly researching their production methods, you stand a much better chance of staying in the green, as far as the environment’s concerned.
Look into Self-Service
Of course, you can host your own blog if you have access to your own server. Many larger companies have this option, but if you have a way to power your own server with renewable energy, you can self-host and ensure that your blog has as little impact on the environment as possible.
Though this is often the best method for ensuring you’re being environmentally friendly, there are two distinct disadvantages. First, there is a much higher initial cost unless you have another use for the server besides your website. You can of course offer server space to other websites if you have room, but if you want to live by your principles of responsible conservation, it will take additional time on your part to ensure that the people whose sites you host are eco-friendly as well.
The second issue is that, if you do not have another use for your server, you could be wasting a lot of natural resources by hosting your own site, resources and power that could better be used elsewhere, even if they are “green.” The operations and maintenance of a server makes this cost prohibitive for many users. It’s definitely an option to consider, but objectively, if you’re spending more to setup and maintain your blog than you are making, you’re going to lose your capacity to live, and that will affect your future conservation efforts as well.
Use Clean Energy Yourself
This was mentioned above, but I can’t repeat it enough. If you can use clean energy yourself, in your home, your business, and all other facets of your life, you will have a smaller impact on the environment and so will your blog. An electric car that is charged by solar power when you are at home saves a huge amount of the emissions that gas powered vehicles generate.
The same can be said for powering your laptop, tablet, and phone. Solar charging helps prevent pollution in a big way, and might even be a viable everyday solution for all of your home power needs, depending on where you live. Even if you can’t use solar energy 100% of the time, using it when and where you can will go a long way in cutting back your contribution to environmental degradation.
Consider clean energy options whenever possible to reduce not only your blog’s environmental impact, but your personal one as well.
Update Your Equipment
Sounds a little backwards, right? Wrong. Newer equipment uses less energy, has longer battery life, and even emits fewer emissions over its lifetime. This is true even for eco-friendly products that were produced even just five years ago.
Since your blog will need some great photography to distinguish itself, prioritize buying newer cameras, made from recycled materials, as much as is feasible. Going even further, if you want to avoid producing more waste through the production of a new camera, consider using stock photos of nature to illustrate the beauty of the earth, and why you’re committed to protecting it, rather than shooting your own photos.
Don’t stop just with upgrading your gear; be aware of what happens to your old equipment. The US throws away hundreds of tons of electronics a year, much of which can be recycled. Check with the company you purchased from about recycling programs (Apple has some good ones) and be sure your old device either goes to a new home, or that the parts get melted down and reused as much as possible.
Newer equipment will make you and your blog more efficient, and reduce your impact on the environment.
Work from Home
This is something most bloggers do anyway, but if you work for a marketing agency or a writing company, work from home as much as your employer will allow. Most of these companies have remote workers regardless, and encourage remote work simply because it saves the company money as well.
There are other ways you can help though. Conduct interviews from home using video chat. Avoid travel when you can Skype or Facetime with someone, and use other methods of research. When you do need to travel, use green transportation when available, and limit your forays to only what is essential.
Your blog has an impact on the environment, but with a few simple tactics, you can minimize the effect you have and be kind to the Earth while you spread the word about green energy and protecting the world we all live in.