What Is Internet Porn’s Environmental Impact?

When people talk about porn’s impact on the world, they’re usually referring to things like its effect on attitudes towards sex, or its role in shaping internet technology. Have you ever considered porn’s impact on the environment? (And no, we’re not thinking of boxes of spent tissues or discarded condoms!) The Atlantic contemplated that very issue in an article entitled “The Environmental Cost of Internet Porn,” which suggests that even in the digital age, adult entertainment may be affecting our overall carbon footprint.

You might think the shift from physical media to streaming would be a boon for porn, at least in terms of environmental implications. That may not be the case, according to author Matt Kessler. Yes, a move away from resource-hogging media like DVDs, magazines and other physical media may mean less immediate waste. But there is so much porn being watched on the internet that the electricity being used to do so may well increase porn’s carbon footprint beyond what it was in previous decades.

Kessler cites an example given by Evil Angel‘s Adam Grayson: “He estimates that the site’s viewership has increased by 7,000 percent since the time of DVDs. In the late 1990s, he says, a new Evil Angel DVD would sell approximately 7,500 copies in the first 30 days. Now, he says, Evil Angel videos are streamed 30,000 times in the first 30 days—and that only represents the 5 percent of its web traffic comprised of paying customers.”

Streaming that much porn definitely has an environmental impact, but it’s difficult to estimate how much, given the lack of proper overarching data on worldwide porn consumption. ““I don’t even know what fraction of the internet is porn,” data scientist Jon Koomey told Kessler. “And without data, it’s hard to say anything sensible.”

We here are Adult Empire aren’t sure either, so we’re going to go watch some ecosexual porn to increase our environmentalism street cred for the day.

Read the full article here.

Photo by Thomas Lambert on Unsplash