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Greening the Internet: Collaborating for a Sustainable Digital Future

23 March 2021

By

Sarah Armstrong

Greening the Internet: Collaborating for a Sustainable Digital Future

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Co-author: Shayna Robinson

4 min read

What is the impact of the Internet on the environment? How can climate risks and challenges be mitigated? Together, how can we Green the Internet?

It is surprising that there are currently no think tanks, no research centers, nor any research non-profits solely dedicated to the study of the Internet and the environment. While there are a few high-level studies done on carbon emissions of the Internet as a whole, there is a significant gap in providing a more nuanced understanding of other aspects. This includes toxins and waste generated by Internet use, and the resiliency of Internet infrastructure in disaster-prone regions.

Furthermore, there is an opportunity to promote thought leadership in this space that can ultimately drive change in the government and ICT sectors. As such, to improve the secure, global, interoperable, and/or open nature of the Internet, we launched a research grant to advance interdisciplinary understanding of critical Internet topics such as environmental impact.

To date, we have received numerous inquiries and statements of interest from researchers all over the world who wish to explore so many unanswered questions about the Internet and how it both affects and is affected by climate change. Current grantees include:

1. Environmental Law InstituteUSA

Project Title: Creating a Research Strategy to Green the Internet

Research Question: How can we identify high-value, high-impact research on the energy and environmental impacts of the digital economy?

This project supports several independent researchers across disciplines and geographies who are exploring the intersection of the environment and digital life.

2. Chomora Mikeka (Independent Researcher)Malawi

Project Title: Greening Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart Cities

Research Question: Can IoT Sensors used for Smart Garbage Collection in Smart Cities be Green Powered?

This project is led by an independent researcher who is exploring how to improve hardware capability to meet sustainable development goals.

3. SubOptic FoundationUSA

Project Title: Decarbonising the Subsea Cable Network

Research Question: What is the average carbon footprint of a cable station, and what climate solutions might help to mitigate this footprint?

This project led by a team of interdisciplinary researchers seeks to answer questions not only on the environmental impact of the subsea cable network but its economic impact as well.

Get Involved

We encourage individuals and organisations throughout the Asia Pacific Region to Green the Internet and raise awareness of the Internet’s environmental footprint and what’s needed for it and the planet to thrive.

The grant programme is open to individual researchers, teams of researchers, interdisciplinary academic centers, and/or think tanks working on relevant projects, with preference given to those who are often marginalised in the research community. Grantees will have the opportunity to participate in co-creation workshops at the early stages of proposal development. They can explore potential research collaborations with each other to improve the outcomes of their studies.

References

A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

Author

Sarah Armstrong

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