Should We Feel Guilty About Using the Cloud Now?


Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

It’s getting harder and harder to find blameless activities these days.

For those of us who thought our online lives were fairly environmentally friendly — buying products on Amazon rather than driving to the store, streaming a movie on Netflix rather than buying or renting a physical disk with all its attendant packaging — this weekend’s New York Times story on data centers served as a rude reminder that all of this bit usage comes at a growing cost, and an increasingly dirty cost.

Data centers waste on average more than 90% of the energy they suck from the grid, the Times found, in research conducted with consultants at McKinsey. Worldwide, data centers use 30 billion watts,…
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