Let’s get together with a small carbon footprint

As a follow up to the Earth Day Special Webinar on Health, Equity and Climate Change, we hosted PAN Presents: Let’s get together with a small carbon footprint.

Our work time and meetings have a hidden carbon footprint! Online video, including streaming, videoconferencing, and video embedded in apps, uses a lot of electricity. Since about 79% of the world’s electricity comes from fossil fuels, that translates into a carbon footprint for streaming video estimated at 1% of the world’s total. This topic is very controversial in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) engineering, as the SFU research team Tackling the Carbon Footprint has discovered. Although in British Columbia we’re fortunate to have electricity derived from renewable sources, our online media still rely on data centers and networks in other provinces and countries that use fossil fuels. This means we too are implicated in online media’s carbon footprint.

Laura Marks and Stephen Makonin provided an overview of the issue and suggested best practices and ways to be mindful of our online carbon footprint, including in video conferencing.


Suggested audience:

  • HIV and hepatitis C organization staff and volunteers, including harm reduction workers
  • Community members and other allies
  • Anyone interested in the impact of technology on climate change!



Dr. Laura U. Marks is Grant Strate Professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She works on media art and philosophy with an emphasis on appropriate technologies.

Dr. Stephen Makonin is an Adjunct Professor in Engineering Science and the Principal Investigator of the Computational Sustainability Lab at Simon Fraser University. He has been a software engineer for over 24 years working for various local/international industry clients.


Additional Resources

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