At the heart of a new youth initiative focused on sustainability, NOWU website is built on the values of digital sobriety. Léa Nogier explains what this means.
Digital technology is responsible for a growing share of energy consumption. In France, the digital sector accounts for 2.5% of greenhouse gas emissions and consumes about 10% of the country's electricity. That's why, when France Télévisions and German broadcaster WDR launched a new sustainability initiative aimed at 15-25 year olds, the "mobile-first" web platform was designed to minimize the energy it consumes, and therefore its environmental footprint.
Two thirds of young Europeans consider the climate emergency as the first priority the EU has to face. With the aim of raising awareness of environmental issues and helping young people to take action, NOWU is the new platform created by the two broadcasters. Launched in September 2021, it has been built according to the values of "digital sobriety". A concept originally developed by the French think tank "The Shift Project," digital sobriety encourages the use of the internet and technology in a more thoughtful and responsible way, as opposed to eliminating them altogether.
TWO MAIN PRINCIPLES
In building the NOWU website (nowuproject.eu), the team followed two main principles: to have no superfluous features and to make the remaining elements as light as as light as possible. This means limiting the use of external scripts, compressing the code, and using lightweight technologies and what is called lazy loading (i.e., initializing a web object only when it is needed, rather than loading it as soon as the site opens).
On NOWU ( (nowuproject.eu), you won't find video, infinite scrolling or embedded third-party elements such as tweets, YouTube videos, Instagram posts, etc. In addition, all images posted on the site are compressed to a maximum of 50kb. This represents about 60 times less weight than a photo taken with a smartphone.
To measure the carbon impact of the digital platform, NOWU uses a solution called GreenFrame, which provides end-to-end energy impact data for each functional change to the site. It models the impact from the client (browser) to the architectural back-end of the product (database, web servers, network).
On the NOWU project, the digital sobriety approach also includes an ethical dimension: nowuproject.eu does not collect any data on its users. This avoids the need for a heavy and energy-consuming analysis tool that would run permanently on the site.
With NOWU, France Televisions and WDR have taken up the challenge of launching a new digital destination and offering young Europeans the experience of a more sober and eco-designed digital platform that combines raising awareness of the issues they care about with reducing resource consumption and their own carbon impact.
Read more about NOWU's approach to digital sobriety in this blog post: https://www.francetvlab.fr/en/posts/digital-sobriety-a-new-challenge-for-the-transformation-of-the-media
The French and German teams behind NOWU, a European project, are looking for other public service media organizations to join them in 2022. With an optimistic and guilt-free tone, NOWU's content is divided into three main areas: content to ACT, content to INFORM and content to INSPIRE.
Every day, NOWU publishes an interactive and useful article, always offering solutions. How to check the eco-friendliness of clothes with the label? Are electric cars really a solution? What is the debate on nuclear power? How can you convince your friends to avoid flying this summer?
To learn more and discuss your participation in the project, contact:
- Gautier Curtil, NOWU Director - email@example.com
- Léa Nogier, NOWU Project Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org