Some solutions to streaming media's carbon footprint

Things we can do individually:

Stream less media!

Enjoy non-streaming solutions like:
  • going to the movies!
  • embracing older technologies
  • watching actual television, listening to actual radio
  • taking the bus to the video store, like Vancouver's Black Dog Video
  • buying DVDs or borrowing them from the library
  • sharing files on USB
  • getting together with folks to watch movies, for example through Hoovie (thanks Yani Kong) This also handles another problem of device media, the loneliness epidemic

When you do stream:
  • stream at lowest resolution and trip out on those compression halos
  • skeptically follow Greenpeace's report card for streaming media companies (Netflix gets a D, YouTube an A, because Google, which owns YouTube, is relatively greener—still not very impressive in my opinion)
  • be willing to pay more for fast, high-resolution media
  • enjoy the elegance of streamlined media consumption. Bloated high-res files are so last decade!

Things we can do collectively:
  • demand regulation. As Greenpeace's report points out, telecoms, media providers, and other companies in the streaming-media economy actually want governments to force them to be more energy efficient. Yes, it will mean raising prices.
  • demand our governments speed the conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy

A later post will address what IT engineers can do.