Issue #16

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Curiously Green

Sustainable Web Design – book release!
Happy New Year!

I hope 2021 has started on a positive note for you all.

In the December issue, I mentioned that I had a new book coming out in 2021 – well it’s finally… nearly… here! It launches on 9th Feb. See below for details!

To start the year with some optimism, it’s reported that the pandemic caused emissions to fall ~7%, and as Joe Biden became the 46th US President, he has pledged a $2T clean energy plan to make the energy grid carbon free in 15 years. Let’s hope this is a positive turning point.

As always, if you have found anything I might find interesting, or simply want to say hi, then I’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply to this email, or reach out on social media @eatwholegrain.

– Tom Greenwood
Top picks from the green web
I wrote a book on Sustainable Web Design

I wrote a book on Sustainable Web Design


Back in the summer of 2019, before the world turned upside down with the appearance of Covid-19, a friend said that she was trying to think about what she would do if she had no commitments and didn’t need to think about money. It got me wondering, “What would I do?”

Given some thought, my answer was very well defined and specific. It was to write a book on Sustainable Web Design for the publisher, A Book Apart. I realised that I didn’t need to stop any of the things I was already doing in order to do this, so I went straight home and wrote an application to the publisher. The result, just 1.5 years later, is that my brand new book, Sustainable Web Design, is being published by A Book Apart!

The book walks you through the key concepts from how web products impact the environment, to the practical actions we can take in design and development, as well as how to sell sustainability in web projects, and even a look at how climate change could impact web services themselves.

I am so excited to start the new year with the realisation of this dream of mine and hope that, whether the book is for you or not, it inspires you to follow any dreams you have about making a difference, as we never know what we are capable of until we try!

It’s available for pre-order and officially launches on February 9th!

Do you really need a new laptop?

Do you really need a new laptop?


This was a really interesting piece from Kris De Decker in Low-tech Magazine – a solar-powered, self-hosted online magazine designed to radically reduce the energy used to produce it. Kris explains that as a journalist, he had always reasoned that he needed to have a decent computer for his work, consuming three laptops between 2000 and 2017, averaging about 5 or 6 years per device. If I am being honest, I have changed mine much more frequently than that, following a spate of faulty Lenovo screens that apparently were “irrepairable”.

In 2017, Kris decided to stop buying new laptops. That year, he bought a secondhand laptop online for just 50 Euros, which he is currently using. In his article, he explains why he made the decision to stop buying new and how it works in practice (it’s not for everyone!). He concludes by pointing out a fundamental problem in the industry – when computers are designed to only last a few years, it makes it almost impossible for the rest of us to keep our machines in use for many years to come. The business model of IT hardware is fundamentally unsustainable.

Paper free isn't enough - Interview with Forbes

Paper free isn't enough - Interview with Forbes


Last month, I spoke to Cornell professor Chris Marquis, who writes about how companies are creating a more resilient and sustainable capitalism. He published this interview in Forbes where we discussed the importance and principles of sustainable web design, and how companies can change their IT practices to become more sustainable.

Digital best practice

Digital best practice


The ADA Lovelace Institute has been working with Green Web Foundation Director Chris Adams, to understand how they can green their digital services. This work is ongoing, and they are documenting their experience to develop best practice when it comes to using online tools and data. With a focus on sustainability, openness, accessibility and privacy, the Institute’s statement shares with all their website users how they are mitigating their impact.

I think its a great starting point for a lot of organisations to look at as a way to bring together the various interrelated values of a web that is good for people and planet.

Understanding Sustainable Web Design webinar

Understanding Sustainable Web Design webinar


Next week, I will be joining Tim Frick and Nicole Hunter from Mightybytes, Inc., for a free one hour webinar exploring how we can reduce the internet’s massive environmental impact.

The webinar will include a live, interactive Q&A session at the end of the panel discussion.

Date: Thursday, 28th January

Time: 10am CT (4pm GMT)

Hope to see some of you then!

Quote of the month

"Are we being good ancestors?"


Jonas Salk

Suggest a book of the month!
We need your book recommendations!

We need your book recommendations!


Now that we’ve reached the 16th issue of Curiously Green, I’ve really enjoyed sharing my and my team’s book recommendations with you. Now we would love to widen our knowledge and add to our library of sustainability focused reading.

So, we are asking for suggestions!

If you have a ‘go-to’ book on digital sustainability, or sustainability in general, please do send recommendations our way. We invite you to send either just the recommendation for us to review, or, if you’re particularly passionate about your suggestion, we would also love to include your guest review!

Do take a look at previous issues for inspiration.

If your book or review is selected for a feature, you will receive a free copy of my book Sustainable Web Design! If you already have a copy, feel free to pay it forward and nominate someone else to receive it.

To submit a book suggestion or review, please hit reply to this email, or email [email protected] to tell us which book you recommend and why. I look forward to your suggestions!

Quick links from our team & friends
Take action!