Reduce your carbon footprint and unsubscribe from emails to help the environment

·4 min read
Take a step toward a sustainable lifestyle! Reduce your carbon footprint by unsubscribing from emails. (PHOTO: Yahoo! Mail)
Take a step toward a sustainable lifestyle! Reduce your carbon footprint by unsubscribing from emails. (PHOTO: Yahoo! Mail)

Do you know about Earth Day? It's celebrated on 22 April every year and is the United Nations' principal method of encouraging action and environmental protection awareness. The daily lives of humans are closely linked to climate change. Even sending or receiving an email leaves a digital carbon footprint, further burdening the Earth. You never thought of that, did you? You can play a part in environmental sustainability by simply unsubscribing from an unnecessary email.

It's relatively easy to do your part to protect the Earth. But first of all, what are carbon footprints? A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an action or a product (from manufacturing to consumption), expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalent to examine its impact on global warming.

A digital carbon footprint is produced when we use the internet, including saving or reading data in the cloud, sending messages, listening to music, or streaming a movie. These data processes add to the power consumption of CPUs in data centres, creating carbon footprints. According to Mozilla's Internet Health Report 2018, carbon dioxide emissions from internet data centres take up 2% of total global emissions, which is nearly equal to that of the airline industry.

Digital carbon footprint: a chronic attack on Earth

An unopened email newsletter is potentially harmful to the Earth. Based on analysis from The Carbon Literacy Project, sending and receiving an email emits 0.3g CO2e. If it's a standard email without any attachments, it will be 4g CO2e; an email with attachments can emit 50g CO2e. You may think, "that's not so bad," but consider the issue in a little more depth. An office worker receives an average of 121 emails per day, half of which are newsletters or ads. A further 25% are emails with attachments, while the other 25% are regular emails for correspondence. To sum up, 1652g CO2e will be produced in one day, and 0.6 tons in a year. Would you consider this too much or too little?

Let's compare the number with someone in India who creates 1.5 tons of carbon emissions annually per year. It takes only three office workers employed in a metropolitan area to outnumber the total carbon footprint produced by that person in India in one year. The impact is much worse than we imagined.

The Carbon Literacy Project suggests that to reduce our carbon footprint, we should change our email-sending habits. For example, we can reduce the size of attached pictures, avoid sending attachments, and ensure that content is written correctly to avoid sending emails twice. You can also regularly reorganise your inbox, sort recipient lists, and unsubscribe from unnecessary digital newsletters to reduce CO2e emissions.

Key feature of Yahoo Mail: View your mailing list on
Key feature of Yahoo Mail: View your mailing list on "Subscription Tab" and mass unsubscribe from all emails.

The new "Unsubscribe" feature for Yahoo Mail is quick and easy

In this digital era, when you sign up for accounts and register on platforms, the "Subscribe to Newsletters" box is usually ticked for you. Newsletters and ads take up more than 50% on average of an individual's inbox, and better tools are needed to sort them out. In this case, Yahoo Mail has introduced a new feature: Unsubscribe Tab. In each of your inboxes (Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Outlook, MSN, etc.), it collects your subscribed newsletters from all mailing lists and records the number of emails every website sends in a week. With the "Unsubscribe" tab, you can click and unsubscribe from unwanted sources. I was surprised to see that I'd subscribed to 22 websites. Each brand or shop sends 1 to 4 emails containing information on goods every week. Some of them even send 8 to 10 newsletters per week, further burdening an inbox.

After discovering such large email newsletters, you can unsubscribe if you don't want them or you're not interested! Not only does this reduce inbox usage and give you a cleaner inbox, but more importantly, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions — an easy way to help yourself and the world. Let's become pro-environment soldiers to protect our home!

Unsubscribe from all your newsletters now. Install Yahoo Mail here

READ MORE:

Common words and phrases in emails that you really shouldn't use

Tuesday is the best day to send emails, and other interesting facts about email

How to up your email game: Stop annoying other people with poorly written emails

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