Digital (Armchair) Activism: 5 Online Things You Can Do to Help the Environment
What started off as a post that listed ways service based businesses could become more eco-friendly online, soon turned into a bit of a laugh. While doing some research to gain a bit of inspiration for this list, I came across the term “armchair activism”, and while I had heard the term before, I probably hadn’t given it much thought. It definitely has a certain negative connotation to it. I also came across the term, digital activism, which I believe both of these go hand in hand in today’s society.
I know for a fact, that since starting Project 3 P, an online platform dedicated to all things sustainable living and business, I’ve become a pretty poor environmentalist. Although I have completed 4 years in studying how to manage environmental problems and have taken part in a number of sustainability research projects, I know I used to volunteer a lot more than I do now. I’m become a perfect example of a digital and armchair activist.
“So I start a revolution from my bed...”
However, I don’t believe armchair activism should be looked down upon. In the last few years, I’ve seen a number of social media campaigns create real, positive change, such as the banning of single-use plastics in Australian supermarkets which was driven by the hashtags #banthebag and #waronwaste.
But I will just say, just like consumerism, digital and armchair activism is a great place to start, but it’s not where you should stop. But nevertheless, here are the top things you can do to save the planet from the comfort of your own home. And yes, these tips can also be applied to online biz owners!
SWITCH TO AN ECO-FRIENDLY SEARCH ENGINE
Did you know that the internet is actually made up of interconnected physical infrastructures which consume natural resources in order for us to watch a Netflix documentary? A study undertaken in 2015 suggests global internet activity is actually responsible for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions - similar to air travel. Although in the scheme of things, individual searches have a relatively low impact, why not make your internet scrolling, message sending and YouTube watching more eco-friendly by switching to a sustainable search engine and reducing your carbon footprint just that little bit more?
INVEST YOUR MONEY ETHICALLY & RESPONSIBLY
In order to effectively start fighting this whole climate change thing from your laptop, your money, along with the rest of the world’s money, needs to be in the right place. Unfortunately, the majority of banks invest heavily in fossil fuels and unsustainable corporations, with very much a profit first approach. It is crucial to understand the environmental and social consequences of where your money is invested, and then once you’ve done a little bit of digging around your current bank and superannuation fund, make a conscious, ethical and responsible decision on where to divert your money.
USE A GREEN WEBSITE HOST
Are you a biz owner with a website? Or do you have a say on what goes in your workplace? If so, why not use a green website host instead. Green web hosting refers to the web hosts that actively try to carry out eco-friendly initiatives to mitigate impact on the environment, often through renewable energy or carbon offsetting.
SIGN PETITIONS FIGHTing ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
You’ve probably see many Greenpeace, PETA or Change.org petitions floating around online. While some believe petitions are a perfect example of armchair activism, others say they can also be the most influential social change agents in the world. Surely plugging in your email won’t do any harm, right?
SPREAD AWARENESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Blogs, together with social media platforms, have create tremendous change by spreading environmental awareness and knowledge. Social media alone has allowed for unlimited access to information while also changing the way people interact with that information. Sustainability issues can now be viewed and shared millions of times in the form of status updates, tweets, photographs, blog posts and videos and can create ongoing conversations to a wide range of people, all over the world. So by sharing, retweeting or liking, you have the power to contribute to mass environmental communication and education - woo!