We pledge to always be carbon negative. Check out our forest here!
At yogajala, it is important for us that we align our actions with our beliefs.
We believe that we all have a responsibility to look after our beautiful planet, and that big businesses in particular need to take environmental accountability and be transparent about their environmental impact.
That’s why, when we started yogajala, we wanted to ensure that it was a project founded with environmental integrity.
We knew that yogajala was going to be carbon negative. The real trial was working out just how it was going to be done.
After many discussions, we decided to plant our own forest!
What is to follow is an explanation of our journey towards how we became carbon negative:
- Our thoughts on greenwashing
- The 3 ways yogajala uses carbon
- What we are taking responsibility for
- Our reasoning behind our yogajala forest
- How we calculate our carbon
- How we offset our carbon
- Our Carbon Pledge
greenwashing: why we aren’t going through a carbon negative agency
After deciding we were going to go carbon negative, and after a quick Google, we came across many subscription-based carbon offsetting services. They offer to offset a website’s CO2 emissions by investing in climate projects, and in return, subscribers receive an icon that they can proudly display on their websites.
It sounded like a great simple solution, and with so many websites using those services it all seems like the real deal. We plugged our numbers into their calculators and they came up with steep monetary figures of around $240 per year.
We ran the numbers ourselves and found that, for the amount of CO2 we produce, this would be an overcharge of over a hundred pounds per year (more on how we ran the numbers later). Smells like greenwashing to us.
We want to make sure that the money that we invest in climate offset is as used as directly as possible so that we can make the most impact, and so that we don’t feed companies that play the greenwashing game for profit.
To do this, we needed to go it alone.
So, first things first- we needed to break down how yogajala uses carbon, and what we are going to be accountable for.
how yogajala uses carbon
We don’t make or sell any products, we don’t require the use of transport, cargo ships, or keep a herd of cows. So where does the environmental destruction that we are so keen to offset come from?
Running a website requires energy. This, primarily, comes from three main sources:
- Our hosting server
- The complexity of our website
- People visiting our site
Here’s a breakdown of how these 3 branches generate CO2:
1. Our hosting server
Every website on the internet requires web hosting.
A hosting server is a space in the physical world where the virtual website is stored. These physical spaces are housed in data centres; where masses of virtual data and computer hardware is kept in rows upon rows in warehouse-like buildings.
Research estimates that by 2025, the IT industry could use 20% of all electricity produced and emit up to 5.5% of the world’s total carbon emissions.
According to The Conversation, a growing proportion of IT energy consumption comes from data centres. These are buildings almost always plug directly into the local electricity grid. In most countries, that means they mostly use non-renewable sources of electricity.
At yogajala we use BigScoots as our hosting server.
So I spoke to Scott, President and CEO of BigScoots, about his company’s commitment to offsetting their environmental impact. Here’s what he had to say:
“For the data centre type we’re in, purely renewable energy is not possible. That said, we offset our footprint as much as we can”
He then referred me to the company’s own Ecologi forest: https://ecologi.com/bigscoots
It’s all well and good saying that you offset your carbon footprint as much as you can, but BigScoots is a highly successful company that has been around for 12 years, and, at the time of writing this (Dec 2021), their forest has 420 trees. For context, buying 420 trees via Ecologi costs less than £90 or $106.
But it turns out that regardless of their lack of renewable energy, BigScoots is actually pretty efficient. Our site is very efficient at loading data, and on top of that, we pay for Cloudflare global caching. This means that versions of the site are stored locally at data hubs worldwide so that energy isn’t used constantly pinging the site globally.
But, given that BigScoots isn’t offsetting their own carbon footprint, however efficient they may be, we at yogajala feel that we have the responsibility to offset the energy that we use via them. That is, the CO2 that is used as a result of yogajala’s data being hosted.
2. The type of website we have
The amount of CO2 a website uses is dependent on how complex the website is. The more autoplay videos and whirring animations, the more carbon is required to run the site.
We keep yogajala as stripped back as possible, and according to Website Carbon Calculator, the efficiency on our website means that we are greener than 85% of websites tested by the same calculator.
We pledge to keep yogajala simple- no autoplay videos, no flashy animations.
3. People using our site
It may seem obvious, but the more visitors you have to your website, the more CO2 emissions are produced.
This boils down to the electricity used by yogajala visitors to power their devices and networks so that they can access and navigate the site.
what we are taking accountability for
All of it! Our hosting server, the type of website we have, and the user side.
We did consider whether we should take responsibility for neutralising the carbon consumption for the user side of yogajala, that is- people using our site.
Shouldn’t individuals take personal responsibility for their own carbon consumption?
Well… kind of?
Sure, we believe that everyone should do their bit for the environment, but we also believe that everyone has a right to use the internet. And quite frankly, lots of us don’t have disposable income to contribute to carbon offset initiatives.
So, we would like to encourage our readers to fund impactful climate solutions to offset their personal emissions. We’ve found that Ecologi offers the best service for this and it costs less than the price of a cup of coffee per week. If this sounds like something for you, check them out here: ecologi.com
And if that’s not for you, no worries, we’ve got you covered!
Taking accountability for both server-side and user-side carbon consumption means that as yogajala grows, so too will our monetary contribution to climate projects.
how we are calculate what we generate
Website Carbon Calculator is a handy tool to break down how much CO2 a website uses.
According to their calculations, 0.21g of CO2 is used every time someone visits yogajala. This accounts for both the server and user sides.
It then gives us the option to input our monthly page views for our final CO2 use figure.
Where do they get this number from?
Here’s what they have to say:
“Calculating the carbon emissions of a website is somewhat of a challenge, but using five key pieces of data we can make a pretty good estimate:
- Data transfer over the wire
- Energy intensity of web data
- Energy source used by the data centre
- Carbon intensity of electricity
- Website traffic“
For a full breakdown of Website Carbon Calculator’s method, click here.
This tool is pretty user friendly. Now we have a number, we just need to work out how we are going to offset it.
how we offset what we generate
We searched around the web for ways to offset our carbon. It’s easy to get lost in the jargon, but what we were after was a transparent way of buying a product that directly contributed to measurable carbon capture solutions.
We settled on Ecologi. It’s an organisation with a simple mission: to plant trees and offset carbon.
We liked their transparency. You can buy X number of trees for X amount of money, and they even tell you exactly where those trees have been planted and what carbon offset projects you have funded.
yogajala’s forest stretches from Mozambique to Madagascar, and we have funded peatland restoration and conservation in Indonesia, and the conversion of landfill gas to energy in Northern Turkey. Take a look!
Ecologi make sure to plant those trees in areas where they are 1. needed most, and 2. cheap to plant. That way, you get the most carbon capture for your buck. And the trees themselves are planted in communities that partner with Eden Reforestation Projects, which employ local people to plant trees, reducing extreme poverty, and planting healthy forests.
Ok, sounds good, but how do we work out how many trees are needed in order to capture the amount of carbon we emit?
When you fund carbon offset projects on Ecologi, they tell you how many tonnes of CO2 are offset by your purchase. We just make sure that we capture more than we consume. Easy.
At yogajala we pledge to always be carbon negative.
And to be sure that we are, we always over-carbon capture.
We are very proud of our yogajala forest, but we are students first.
We are always open to new, better ways of playing our part in our path towards whole planet sustainability. So please do get in contact if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All of us at yogajala