There are countless reality TV shows that tell us how to combat our need to hoard stuff we think we might need again in the future. For example, in one of the most popular ones, ‘Tidying up With Marie Kondo’, the host tells contestants to only keep things that spark joy. As a society, we seem to have recognized the importance of keeping our living space decluttered. The same cannot be said for most desktops and hard drives, however. Especially the ambiguous cloud with its promise of unlimited storage capacity tempts users to store data just for the hell of it – there’s enough space, right? Well, technically, yes – because we have been heavily investing in building and maintaining gigantic datacenters. In 2018, seventeen percent of the total carbon footprint caused by technology were due to datacenters. The electricity that is needed to run these data centers is nearly 30 billion watts. These servers waste 90 percent of the energy they use because they run on full capacity all day long. These facts alone make data centers hazardous to the environment, which is why many companies are doing their best to change these facts. However, individual users can do their part by simply deleting data that no longer spark joy.
On top of the ongoing global pandemic, the world is also facing a climate crisis. Everyone can do their part – not only by recycling or saving water, but also by deleting obsolete data.