Issue #31

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Curiously Green

The Earth Day issue – How much is enough?
Happy Earth Day 🌍

I hope you all enjoyed the recent holidays – whether you celebrated Easter, Ramadan, Passover, the Spring Equinox or simply enjoyed the longer weekend, I hope you had time to relax with loved ones.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately, and we have been discussing as a team at Wholegrain Digital, is the question of ‘How much is enough?’ – as individuals, as a team, as a business, as a society. It’s a big question and surely one we need to ask if we are to create a healthy and sustainable society.

This month’s book review dives deeper into this topic and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what this question means for you. Let’s all take some time this Earth Day to stop and reflect on it.

Until next time,

– Tom Greenwood
Top picks from the green web
Website carbon calculations co-ordinated for Earth Day!

Website carbon calculations co-ordinated for Earth Day!


Having created the world’s first website carbon calculator a number of years ago, it’s important to us that we continue to evolve and update it in line with the latest science. It’s also important that efforts to quantify energy and emissions of websites are standardised across the industry.

With this in mind, we’ve been working for some time to collaborate with US based agency MightyBytes, Offset Go, EcoPing and The Green Web Foundation, to create a standardised approach. This Earth Day, we are excited to have put this new formula into use on Website Carbon, EcoPing, the brand new version of EcoGrader, as well as CO2.js, a script that can be used to integrate these calculations into other projects.

We’re all really pleased to note that the infrastructure behind the internet is becoming more energy efficient and power grids are becoming cleaner over time, and the latest methodology is updated to reflect these improvements.

It’s also the first step toward broader industry collaboration to create sustainable web design standards that can be used to help guide improvement, encourage best practices and help reduce greenwashing. Check out this post on the W3c sustainable web community group for more info.

Volkswagen Canada goes offline for Earth Day

Volkswagen Canada goes offline for Earth Day


VW Canada is making a bold statement this Earth Day by taking all of their digital marketing – including websites and paid ads – offline for Earth Day.

Anyone who happens to land on the VW Canada website organically will be redirected to a low carbon landing page providing information about the environmental impact of digital technology. VW will also plant a tree for every unique visitor that reaches the landing page on Earth Day.

Following the launch of their ID4 electric car in Canada, for which they created a low-carbon alternative to their main website, VW have been committed to raising awareness of the impact of digital emissions, and we applaud this initiative. The question now is, should I be telling people to go and look at this initiative on Earth Day or telling them not to?


Royal Mint making money out of e-waste


The Royal Mint has partnered with tech start-up Excir in order to pilot technology that retrieves and recycles precious metals from electronic waste. The company claims that by using chemicals that selectively target and extract metals, their technology can recover 99% of the gold contained within the circuit boards of discarded laptops and mobile phones.

As Sean Millard, Chief Growth Officer at The Royal Mint says, this technology “offers huge potential for The Royal Mint and the circular economy – helping to reuse our planet’s precious resources and creating new skills in the UK.”

This could be quite revolutionary if it succeeds, and if it helps make electronic waste recycling more financially viable then it could make a massive reduction in the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfill. But what of the rest materials that form our devices? We still need the big electronics manufacturers to design digital devices for longer life spans and create viable systems for repair and recycling.

Light technology to lighten data centers' carbon footprint

Light technology to lighten data centers' carbon footprint


Iris Light Technologies, a startup in the USA, is currently participating in the Chain Reaction Innovations incubator program, which offer a two-year fellowship for innovators focusing on clean energy and science technologies. Iris Light Technologies is investing in the emerging industry of silicon photonics.

Silicon photonics is a new technology that enables the transfer of data between computer chips using optics (light) rather than electricity, which means that this technology is considerably faster when it comes to transferring data and therefore, more energy efficient. This could be another big step forward in data center efficiency, and we need every efficiency gain we can get!

Quote of the month

"There is Enough. We can do Enough. We are Enough.”


Becky Hall

Book of the month
The Art of Enough – 7 ways to build a balanced life and a flourishing world by Becky Hall

The Art of Enough – 7 ways to build a balanced life and a flourishing world by Becky Hall


I was surprised when Tom asked me to review The Art of Enough, because I’d not actually read it. Let me explain. It was after our first in-person meeting, earlier this year… We’d known each other for a while but had only met remotely. Our discussion was wide-ranging and included the challenges of running a business and the question of growth. There are classically two options for UK small businesses: ‘scale’, because bigger is better, obviously, or run a ‘lifestyle’ business – which has always felt unambitious and a cop-out to me. Until recently. 

Why should bigger be better? And when does it stop? The quest for continual growth has come under the microscope in recent years, not least because our finite planet is showing alarming signs of stress from the constant gobbling of its resources.

I mentioned Becky’s book to Tom because the premise felt relevant. I knew about it because she’s a friend and we’d chatted about it. But then Tom called my bluff and asked if I’d like to review it. So here we are.

With 25-years’ experience coaching public sector CEOs and top-teams, Becky knows a thing or two about people struggling to ‘be enough’, ‘have enough’ and ‘do enough’. She brings her book to life with some poignant cases studies and further energises it with practical tips and exercises. 

‘Enough’ is a mid-point between Scarcity (fear, lack, anxiety) and Excess (overwhelm, addiction, desire). The model offers seven ‘Arts’ for finding Enough and although you may not think all of them relevant to you, I’ll bet a few of them will resonate. 

Whilst this book speaks mainly to individuals rather than organisations, there are lessons for both. ‘Art 6 – Enough Growth’ was particularly relevant to my discussion with Tom. Becky contends that growth should be just one stage in a cycle of transformation. It’s about letting go of an old state to make room for something new. She illustrates this charmingly with a reference to Eric Carle’s children’s book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ in which the caterpillar eats, and eats, and eats, eventually transforming into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly.

She makes a poignant comparison between executive burn-out (from always needing to do more) and environmental burnout. Both come from a depletion of resources. And both need to be left to regenerate and to re-find the cyclical nature of replenishment.

Ned Wells, Director at Ned Wells Consulting


Communicating to create change: tackling the environmental crisis

Communicating to create change: tackling the environmental crisis


Next month, CharityComms will be running a special online conference,  Communicating to create change: tackling the environmental crisis. This event is aimed at any charity, or agency, who wish to use communications to help tackle the environmental crisis, regardless of the organisation’s principal purpose.

Date: Thursday 19th May

Time: 10:00- 14:30 (BST)

Tickets are free to ALL small charities (income of £2m or less), regardless of CharityComms membership.

Other news from the green web
Join our team at Wholegrain Digital
We are looking for positive people to join us!

We are looking for positive people to join us!


We’ve celebrated our 15th birthday and are looking forward to creating an even more positive impact over the next 15 years.

Are you passionate about using design and digital technology for good? Would you like to join us on this journey?

If you want to create a better web for a better world, check out our careers page or simply get in touch with me to introduce yourself.

Take action!
Curiously Green is curated and written by Tom Greenwood and Rachael B.