The Cost of Digital Life is a research project revolving around the consumers’ awareness of their internet usage. By including the citizens in the research, we aim to visualise their usage and spread awareness of how much their data consumption is affecting the environment.This project aims to educate Danish citizens according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where number 13 is focusing on climate actions. Often, the focus is put on other climate topics, such as the pollution of air traffic, however less focus is being put on the rapid growing source of carbon emission: the Internet. Our hope for this project is that it will influence participants to reflect on their data consumption, and thereby cut down on their internet usage.
The last decades saw a growth in internet speed and technological advancements such as improved smartphones, resulting in an increased usage of online services and platforms such as Facebook, Netflix, HBO, and many more. These services are offered globally through data centres that consume huge amounts of data, and thus, electricity. In other words, the more we stream, share, and upload; the higher the electricity consumption of these data centres are.
Therefore, this project will help to spread awareness and educate the general population of Denmark on how their internet consumption is harming the environment. Furthermore, we will motivate people to think on what other alternatives there are to watching a movie, scrolling social media, or ways to make their devices more energy efficient.
We developed a quiz where we formulated 7 short multiple-choice questions to test future participants/non-participants' knowledge on the cost of digital life. Furthermore, we added two open questions where people can give their ideas on how to reduce the data consumption and how it would be the easiest to visualise the data used e.g. in round trips from Aalborg to Copenhagen.
People who participate will do two short interviews. One at the start where we go over their own perception on their online behaviour, discuss the quiz etc. after the first interview they will use a data tracking app on their phone which they would send to us after the week is done and then we will then do a reflective interview with them on their experiences, compare answers from the first interview (perception vs. reality).
Links to project webspaces
Mathias Bak Dinesen, BA International Business Communication, Kolding
Charlotte Juul, BSc Sports & Health, Odense
Gerbrand Eefting, MSc Environmental & Resource Management, Esbjerg