A few weeks ago I wrote about green web hosting. Today the planet is more or less completely run on fossil fuels. This is not necessarily a bad thing, after all, all the industrial progress that we’ve made, all the vast advancements of human civilization, our plastics technologies, our sophisticate methods of transportations over land, sea and air have all contributed to enhancing the quality of life and standard of living of people from all over the world. Without fossil fuels and the energy they have been providing to our civilization for more than a century and half, none of these would be possible. However, we’ve paid an enormous price for the privilege of progress. Around the world localized eco-systems collapse, the air and water are polluted beyond belief, and the planet itself is undergoing a steady warming because of pollutants in its atmosphere that might permanently change its ecology.
Now you may wonder what on earth web hosting has to do with all of this. I’ll explain. The massive servers that run the internet around the world are online twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. And you can just imagine how much energy they use. Where does that energy come from? Why, from fossil fuels, of course. Did you know that the internet is doubling size every year both in the United States and all over the world. Consumption of the electricity by servers increases massively every year. As a matter of fact, it is not only the servers that need to be operated, but also all sorts of related support systems and infrastructure.
Did you know that the cost of running all that equipment came to about three billion dollars in the US alone, and to a total of about seven billion dollars globally. This means that the internet is consuming vast amounts of energy, and it is calculated that the internet will cause more pollution that all the airlines in the world by the year 2020. This is an unacceptable situation that the planet is facing such a vast ecological disaster as a global warming and cannot be allowed to continue.
A two pronged approach is required. For one thing, we need to approve the efficiency, at which data centers use energy. For another, we need to provide for the energy needs and demands of the internet by harnessing renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro power. This is hardly a new concept, as a matter of fact, there are lots of ‘green web hosting’ companies that are already implementing these sophisticated procedures. It is a responsibility of everyone connected the the internet, right from the individual user to companies that own websites, to the vast hosting companies that run the servers themselves, to recognize that we have a duty to preserve the planet and to ensure that future generations see us as an intelligent and responsible people, and not as brutal desecraters of the world. It is essentially that the internet and every related industry start at once to switch to alternate sources of power, not only for the servers and supporting computer hardware, but also for the equally vast and enormously power hungry cooling systems that keep those servers and that hardware functioning.
Of course there are all sorts of sources for renewable energy, but by far the most dependable are wind, water and, of course, the ever present sun. Vast solar panel systems sited on cheap land in the desert can provide an almost limitless source of clean energy, and it’s only a question of switching to this clean energy. Of course, solar panels can be exorbitantly expensive, and so, at least for a little while, green web hosting is bound to be a little more expensive that other kinds of web hosting, but that price comes with the knowledge that you’re doing your bit to save and preserver the precious and delicate resource that is our wonderful world.
And that price is set to reduce in time, as newer and newer technologies in harnessing solar energy and developed regularly. In time, it is hoped that both solar energy, and green web hosting, should be no more expensive than their more conventional alternatives. Companies that deal in green web hosting either have their own solar or wind power systems (water power is more rare because of it’s dependence on location), or buy clean energy from companies that own power plants that produce energy from the water, sun or wind.
Whichever way they go about it, the fact remains that with each server facility that switches to green power, the planet becomes safer for those who shall inherit it from us, not to mention the balance of ecology being maintained in our own lifetimes. Shall we callously turn a blind eye to the results of our own actions, or shall we step forward as rational and intelligent citizens of the world, to do our bit to preserves a failing ecology, and to stave off total environmental disaster.