by MJ Ali
“My photos are all in the Cloud.” It sounds so non-material. Light, airy, unobtrusive, even magical.
Would you be surprised to find out that intelligent people of all ages and abilities have asked questions like, “If it’s a clear day, is my data being saved?”
That’s the brilliance of marketing: make something as energy-consuming as global-scale data storage sound fluffy.
The reality is that right here, on planet earth, there are massive data centers all over the world taking up ever more real estate and energy to accommodate the world’s insatiable appetite for saving every single picture they ever took or video they ever shot or text they ever sent or gif they ever posted.
Whether they’re called “cloud campuses”, “server farms” or “data centers”, companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and others buy up multi-acre real estate and spend billions to accommodate ever-growing digital storage demands.
If you were to go to Google Maps and search for: “Facebook data center Forest City NC”, and in Satellite view, pan out, and witness the scope of just this one data center. The three buildings dwarf anything else in this small city.
Head on over to North Carolina on Google Maps and take a look at the “Apple data center Maiden NC” and you’ll see not only one of Apple’s data centers, but an even larger solar farm powering that data center.
No one’s really talking about the environmental impact our digital clutter is having, so let’s focus on what we can do to reduce our digital clutter for other reasons. Safety, organization, and simplicity, are all good incentives to reduce digital clutter. It’s also a lot easier than cleaning out a closet!