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Saving the planet, one swipe at a time: the surprising environmental impact of TikTok scrolling

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By Pelin Okutan

· 3 min read

Have you ever heard of TikTok? It’s a popular app where people can watch short videos of all kinds of things like dancing, pets, and funny jokes. But did you know that scrolling through TikTok can have an impact on the environment?

Let me explain. When you watch videos on TikTok, your phone or tablet needs to use a lot of energy to make those videos play on your screen. This energy comes from the battery in your device, which needs to be charged by electricity. And the way we usually make electricity can create a gas called carbon dioxide, which can harm the environment.

When we talk about the impact something has on the environment, we use a term called the “carbon footprint.” It’s a way to measure how much carbon dioxide is produced when we do something, like watching videos on TikTok.

So, how much carbon dioxide does scrolling TikTok produce? Well, a study found that watching videos on a phone or tablet for one hour produces about 55 grams of carbon dioxide. That’s like driving a car for a quarter of a mile! So, if you spend a lot of time scrolling through TikTok, it can add up to a big carbon footprint.

But don’t worry, there are things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint when scrolling TikTok. One thing is to limit the amount of time you spend on the app each day. Another thing is to turn off your phone or tablet when you’re not using it. You can also try using a charger that is powered by renewable energy sources like the sun or the wind.

Remember, even the small things we do can make a big difference to our planet. So, let’s all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and help protect the environment!

Future Thought Leaders is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of rising Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Pelin Okutan is a PhD candidate, researcher, writer, engineer, and data scientist focused on adapting sustainable approaches to existing problems.

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