The new standard in streaming

Streaming high definition videos on your phone generates approximately four times more emissions into the atmosphere than necessary. The down-to-earth solution? You know it as standard definition. We call it Earth Definition. A greener, much needed alternative to HD that lets you stream responsibly.

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You can’t tell the difference. But our planet can

Screens on smaller devices, such as phones, don’t take advantage of high definition video quality. Earth Definition, on the other hand, not only does the job but also reduces your personal digital carbon footprint, making it the better choice for the environment.

Choose 480p
1. Choose Earth Definition

When watching videos on your phone, select Settings and choose 480p.

2. Less emissions

By watching in 480p you can cut your emissions by at least 4 times

Play your part

We all have a part to play in this, but this is your chance to be a part of the solution. Choose your role and see how you can make a difference for our one and only planet.

Earth to you. The completer of Netflix and viewer of four-hour-long-super-hero-movies. You, who finishes a show and tops it off with 20-minute breakdowns and spoiler videos on YouTube. By all means, keep watching – but stream responsibly.

1. Choose the green alternative
Most platforms auto-play videos in 1080p, also known as HD. If you’re watching on your phone, 480p will do the job. So switch the quality to Earth Definition.
2. Sharing is caring
Some ideas are worth sharing. In all modesty, this might be one of them. Because doing this will reduce our collective digital carbon footprint. And the more we are, the bigger the difference. So call your mom, tell your friends and spread the word.

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Earth to you. The YouTubes, HBOs and Facebooks of the world. The vast majority of internet traffic goes towards video streaming. In other words, you hold the power to greatly reduce your digital carbon footprint by simply following these steps.

1. Add the green alternative
Simply add a green ‘ED’ next to the 480p video quality option, and help people make an educated choice and stream responsibly.
2. Auto play is the way
If your platform is like most, it auto-plays videos in 1080p. Instead, make sure it auto-plays in 480p on smaller mobile devices where HD isn’t necessary.

Earth to all the big players in streaming. By 2022, video streaming and gaming will take up most of all consumer internet traffic. And trust us, when it comes to digital carbon footprint, that’s a high score you don’t want to top.

1. Stream responsibly
If climate change was a game, we would be losing. But we still have a chance to turn this thing around. So forget about 1080p. Stream in 480p and 30 fps and tell your followers about Earth Definition.

Earth to you, the creators on the world’s biggest video platform. You hold the power to influence millions. Make it count.

1. Influence your Subscribers
The more we are, the more we can do. So tell your fans they have a choice to watch a greener version of your content when they are using a mobile device.
2. Upload in ED
Upload your next YouTube video in 480p and enlighten your audience about Earth Definition.

Here’s a little perspective and some pretty big numbers

Currently 1 billion hours of YouTube are watched every day.
Source: YouTube
The carbon emissions of YouTube alone equate to 10 million metric tons of CO2e per year – roughly the same as Luxembourg or Zimbabwe’s annual output.
Source: University of Bristol
Scientists at the UK's Royal Society say streaming one hour of Ultra HD on a phone generates about eight times more in emissions than standard definition (SD).
Source: The Royal Society
One hour of streaming is equivalent to a typical 75W ceiling fan running for four hours in North America or six hours in Europe, or a typical 1,000W window air conditioner running for 15 minutes in North America or 40 minutes in Europe.
Source: DIMPACT Project
More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices.
Source: YouTube
The data centers used to power digital services now contribute approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions – on par with the aviation sector.
Source: UNFCCC
82% of online traffic is predicted to be video by 2022.
Source: CISCO
Globally, 3 trillion minutes (5 million years) of video content will cross the Internet each month by 2022. That's 1.1 million minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second.
Source: CISCO

Some wise words, if you ask us

  • “At the same time when we need to act to counter climate change, we are giving mobile users ever faster and broader connections that will drive data growth and so energy demand will rise instead of fall. This is exactly Jevons Paradox in action. We have opened Pandora's Box to users to whom the consequences of using ever more HD & UHD video services are not fully explained - and often are ignored as 'not my problem'. Our real problem is that climate change has been happening slowly in comparison to our human life span. When we are standing in flood water or watching our houses burn perhaps we will not bother to watch a UHD movie on a 5" screen?”

    - Ian Bitterlin
    Consulting Engineer & formerly Visiting Professor, University of Leeds

Share your new-found knowledge

So, did seeing all of this inspire you to make a difference? Good. Because you can. Make a difference, that is. Start by sharing this site with your friends, colleagues and whoever might feel the same. We’re all accountable for what happens to our one and only planet and change has to start with someone, somewhere. Why shouldn’t it be you?

Let’s talk about digital carbon footprints

Watch BAFTA nominated animation director & climate activist, Simon Robson and Professor of Sustainability, Mike Berners-Lee, discuss the invisible impact of our digital lives. In Earth Definition, of course.

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