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Understanding the Environmental Impact of the Metaverse

Experts are highlighting various aspects of how the metaverse will impact the environment. While a 20 percent decrease in transportation-related pollutants is anticipated, attention is being drawn to the environmental damage stemming from activities based on chip production.

During the global pandemic, with curfews in place worldwide, there was a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants resulting from fossil fuel consumption. Now, the recently introduced metaverse is influencing preferences, encouraging a shift towards staying at home.


Understanding the Environmental Impact of the Metaverse

The Metaverse, a 3D virtual universe, provides access through virtual reality devices, especially virtual reality glasses. As exhibition areas, museums, and restaurants find their place in this world, user interest continues to grow.

Within the Metaverse, the need to leave one’s house diminishes, as virtual reality devices can be utilized indoors. It enables users to embark on tours, attend meetings, and conduct interviews within the virtual world.

The Metaverse, often considered the embodiment of the internet, steers individuals toward a preference for enclosed environments while simultaneously shaping their emerging needs.


Analyzing the potential impacts of the new virtual world on the environment and nature, Environmental Engineer Prof. Dr. Mustafa Öztürk emphasized that aside from transportation sources, pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter can result from energy consumption related to heating, cooling, and lighting. He stressed the importance of controlling these pollutants in both outdoor and indoor environments to maintain human health and comfort standards. Öztürk commented:

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“Especially due to increased indoor activities, indoor air quality, particularly in terms of humidity and carbon dioxide concentrations, must adhere to human health comfort standards. Otherwise, there will be significant risks for people.

Taking environmental measures, addressing polluting sources, and making improvements can lead to very positive developments for the environment, apart from mobility. Greenhouse gas emissions, sulfur dioxide emissions, and particulate matter emissions will decrease. Additionally, pollutants like SO2 (sulfur dioxide) and nitrogen oxides are crucial for health, and we observe a significant decrease in these pollutants.

To further reduce the release of these pollutants, substantial environmental investments must be made. Since global pollutants are 30-35 percent attributed to transportation, this percentage will decrease significantly. The current rate of 30-35 percent will decrease to 20 percent because transportation will persist for people’s food and drink needs.”

Öztürk pointed out that in 2020, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide concentrations decreased similarly during the pandemic, stating, “Because people were confined to indoor environments, these concentrations decreased.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere consistently increase, but in 2020, the concentration of carbon dioxide decreased by 10 percent. This is an unprecedented event in history. The digitization of the world is promising and inspiring, but its effects on people need to be studied separately.”

Emphasizing that people will increasingly be confined to indoor spaces, Öztürk stated, “Indoor living standards and air quality need improvement. Serious technological investments, as observed in countries like Europe, America, and South Korea, allow for comfortable living at home with minimal energy consumption.”


Highlighting the anticipated rise in energy requirements, Cyber Security Specialist Osman Demircan stated, “We are delving into a structure referred to as Metaverse internet 3.0, and it will necessitate different and faster servers than those currently known.

To facilitate its widespread adoption, production of these servers is imperative, leading to an increased demand for chip production. However, chip production involves mining, which has adverse environmental effects. Considering that servers, once operational, are energy-intensive devices generating significant heat, it seems like we are exerting more effort towards a potential environmental crisis.”


“The metaverse universes we are currently introduced to are essentially beginner levels, created quite amateurishly and lacking professional polish. Major players have yet to enter the scene, and their engineers are diligently working to craft more sophisticated universes. We are looking at a timeline of at least 10 years here.

Once the infrastructure and usability are established, widespread adoption will commence. In other words, we might be facing a substantial 10-15 year process. During this time, there’s a risk of depleting mines entirely, and without an alternative for chip production, we might cease to manufacture chips.

Even today, the production of cars is hindered due to the shortage of chips. If a larger crisis unfolds in the future where chips cannot be produced, it could lead to a more significant disaster. This possibility may be looming on the horizon.”

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