If you’re like most people, you haven’t given much thought to the environmental impact of your Internet usage. A new plug-in, “Earth Mode,” for the Google Chrome browser hopes to change that, reports a recent PR Newswire release.
Making Surfers More Aware
The Earth Mode plug-in is the result of a partnership between the Earth Day Network and Johnnie Walker®, makers of the world’s best-selling Scotch whiskey. The intent is to make Internet users more aware of their digital carbon footprint by calculating how much energy they use while online. Johnnie Walker will plant up to 75,000 trees to offset the use as part of the Earth Day Network Canopy Project.
Implications Beyond the Internet
“Each time that you use a website or search the Internet, it requires a lot of energy to provide the data. Cumulatively across the world, this creates a large carbon footprint,” explains Michael Thornton, Chief Executive of Carbon Analytics. Thornton worked with Johnnie Walker to develop the Earth Mode plug-in. By making online users more aware, Johnnie Walker hopes the plug-in will inspire them to use less energy in general. The whiskey’s parent company, Diageo, has reduced its carbon emissions by 33% over eight years, in part, by making its 35,000 employees more aware of their own everyday usage.
How Energy Usage Is Calculated
The Earth Mode plug-in measures online usage over a four-week period to estimate a user’s annual consumption. It is essentially an easy-to-use calculator that helps people understand their global footprint by displaying it in real-time, in the equivalent of everyday activities such as driving a car. Research suggests that the average online user consumes about 287 pounds of carbon a year, the equivalent of driving roughly 460 miles. The plug-in also indicates how many trees will be planted to offset this usage.