On yesterday's episode of Phoneboy Speaks, a question was asked:

For those who claim to care about energy usage and podcast, do you have any idea how much energy used in the production of and the listening to your podcast? Does anyone, really?

There is little chance that anyone could know for certain how much energy is used (or wasted) in the life cycle of a podcast given the complexities in calculating such a figure. Even a show with a single listener would have more variables to take into consideration than most people would be willing to handle. That said, this topic is coming up at an interesting time as social activists around the world emerge from the various COVID-19 lockdowns and gear up to, once again, claim there is a "climate emergency" on the horizon and we should all be more conscious of the impact our day-to-day habits have on the planet as a whole.

While the amount of energy that is consumed and/or wasted daily is something that we need to solve as a species, a lot of the stated expectations from the most vocal of activists will do little to curb the bulk of the issue. Believe it or not, the amount of electricity that is wasted in the home has gone down considerably over the last 25 years as we have moved towards LED lighting, flat-screen televisions, portable electronics, and better home insulation. Our cars are generally cleaner. We release much less heat into the atmosphere. Heck, most people even recycle without complaint1. If we, as humanity, are going to tackle energy consumption in any meaningful way, we need to do it not by shaming our neighbours for leaving lights on or recording long podcasts. Instead, we need to drastically alter our expectations of convenience.

For a lot of people who grew up in an economically prosperous nation and take full advantage of the modern world's offerings, be it ordering toilet paper on Amazon or sharing videos on social networks, this will be almost impossible.

  1. Putting something out for recycling does not mean it will avoid spending an eternity in a landfill, but that's a topic for another day … maybe.