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Digital Cleanup for Climate

CAT is hosting another digital declutter session on Tuesday, April 18 at 4:00PM PT. Join us for a one hour coworking session. Whether you sort through your photos on the cloud, delete accounts you don’t use anymore, or bulk-delete your old backups — the more we delete, the better!

Why this matters

Digital documents are often viewed as a green alternative to paper documents; however they still have a footprint. Storing media files, databases and datasets requires physical storage hardware that is energy-intensive. CyberRes, a security portfolio company, estimates that about “60% of the data that organizations collect is unused because it is either redundant, obsolete, or trivial” (TechBeacon). By deleting these files, we can reduce the electricity needed to keep keep servers running and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Additional benefits: Eliminating unused data and digital waste ensures better security and privacy. It also reduces storage requirements and costs.

How tech workers can help

We can reduce these emissions by collecting less data and by getting rid of unnecessary data.

  1. Create a digital cleanup habit: Delete extra backup files, apps, and media.
  2. Conduct a data audit: Find out where your organization’s data comes from, how much you are collecting, and how much you are storing. Identify which data is no longer needed and remove it. See TechBeacon or DigitalCleanupDay below for more details.
  3. Design products that promote data minimalism: Make it easy for users to delete their files and select which files don’t need to be backed up.
  4. Be intentional about data collection. Start with business objectives and use them to focus data collection. Work with others to develop good data governance practices.

Resources & Notes

  1. Digital Waste, Revolutionized
  2. The greening of privacy: Key steps to data sustainability, TechBeacon
  4. Why Too Much Data Is A Problem And How To Prevent It, Forbes
  5. Why the Need for Too Much Data Is a Fatal Leadership Flaw, Inc.
  6. 6 best practices for good data governance, CIO