Written by Quintin Coetzee.

Last year, I became aware of Let’s Do It World’s annual initiative of World Cleanup Day. This fantastic, community-driven program is aimed at getting everyone together each year to give of their time in order to create a cleaner environment for all. With the global population growing, and a seemingly never-ending disregard for our natural environment, I thought this initiative was a fantastic opportunity to get my workplace to take part, and so, on Mandela Day here in South Africa, we did just that – cleaning up litter under a local bridge. As an environmentalist, I was very drawn to this program on a personal level, and was so glad to be a part of it.

This year, however, things are a bit different. With so many around the world practicing social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, coming together in groups to clean up the environment is a bit tricky, to say the least. However, that didn’t stop the team at Let’s Do It World from inspiring the world to participate in something great once again.

2020 played host to World Digital Cleanup Day. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the team asked all who saw their communication to, on April 22nd, to take some time to clean up their digital lives. In the team’s words, “In the digital world, similar to the environment, there is a huge amount of trash that takes away storage space from our smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs and servers. If we delete all unnecessary files, apps, photos and videos, we are not just extending the life of our gadgets and saving a huge amount of CO2, but we also feel more balanced, we take control over our lives and we will be more efficient and satisfied. Sounds like a win-win! The carbon footprint of the internet and the systems supporting it account to about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, which is similar to the amount produced globally by the airline industry. Some studies estimate that in a decade the internet network will produce 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases”.

People from around the globe were asked to  clean the data on their smartphones, PCs, in their digital mailboxes, and to think about how they used data going forward. I definitely took the time to do my part. And just because the day has passed doesn’t mean we can’t all adopt a new attitude towards living a leaner digital life. Use only what you need, keep the clutter at bay, and keep the environment top of mind when you’re interacting with technology. Through education, we can all help each other, and make the world a more livable place for future generations.

Well done to the Let’s Do It World team. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.