Please note, this is not a scientific article but one where we share our team member’s recommendations on how, as an individual, you can contribute to protecting and preserving the environment.
With the pandemic, good has come out of it for our planet to heal, even if it’s just a bit. Many cities’ smog has almost disappeared due to lockdown measures. Most of us have likely seen the satellite images portraying air pollution before and during the pandemic, pictures from cities in northern India being able to see the Himalayas again; in Bogotá, the volcano Nevado del Ruiz has been spotted when there are no clouds, rivers have become cleaner, and, amongst many more examples, wildlife has been taking a vacation.
It shows the power companies can have if they loosen-up their work policies and allow office personnel to work from their homes more often after this pandemic is over. Remote work can be a major contributing factor in fighting our current climate emergency. As a remote-first company, our carbon footprint is considerably smaller than if we would’ve had HQs. We’re not having the greenhouse-gas-emitting commutes of all our team members, nor do we have face-to-face meetings, requiring another commute. Moreover, we don’t use airconditioning to keep big spaces fresh. A 2019 report from the Global Workplace Analytics estimates that remote workers collectively reduce emissions equivalent to 600,000 cars for a year. A 2017 study from the same organization determined that the remote workforce of that year in the U.S. (about 3.9 million people) saved carbons equivalent to 540,000 homes powered by electricity for a whole year or planting 91.9 million trees!!
Dev.to did some further calculations based on 2019’s U.S. workforce and made a conservative hypothesis that we can apply a 7x multiplier compared to the 3.9 million in the 2017 study (on how they got there, check out the full article here). To lay it out for you, that would mean carbon savings equivalent to 3.780.000 homes powered by electricity for a whole year or 643.3 million trees planted. Mind you; these are only calculations based on the U.S. remote workforce. With Dev.to’s estimation that 10% of the world’s internet users would move towards remote job opportunities, you could apply a 20x multiplier to their hypothetical calculations. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?!
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If you’re reading this and want advice on how your organization can go partially or fully remote, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org! We are here to help, for free!
What you can do as a remote worker from home
There’s always more that we can do as remote workers to protect and preserve our environment. Kudos to all remote workers for reducing an incredible amount of greenhouse-gas-emissions. What’s next? We asked around in the company, and these are the recommendations that our team members have for y’all:
Buy snacks in bulk! We all love to munch on chocolate goodies, cake, crisps, nuts, and much more. The amount of individual packaging of our beloved nibbles is having an impact on our environment. Consider buying a big bag or box that don’t have sweets or salts individually packed. Momma Earth will love you for it.
Request your take-out restaurant not to add disposable cutlery. With the whole world being at home now, our kitchen should have a drawer offering reusable cutlery. Still not convinced why the use of single-use plastic cutlery is just a bad freaking idea? Watch this turtle having a FORK (!) stuck in its nostrils or check this out.
Opt for beverages provided in glass bottles. We’ll be talking to deaf ears if we start recommending to stop buying sugared drinks. Hence, check if your supermarket or restaurant offers your favorite beverages in glass bottles instead. If they don’t provide glass alternatives, consider buying a big bottle instead of a small one for each of your meals. Be mindful that most likely, your bottle will end up in a landfill forever. Feeling creative or know someone who is? Here are some ideas on how you can reuse plastic bottles. And, yeah, the obvious, get in the habit of taking your reusable water bottle and cup with you whenever you go out. Most places are pretty cool in serving their drinks in that instead.
Stop sucking. The same goes for straws, don’t be square and ditch the plastic ones. There’s a wide variety of excellent glass, bamboo, steel alternatives for choosing your straw. Why are plastic straws so bad? They are used for minutes, polluting our environment for centuries to come, piling every day while harming marine and wildlife ecosystems. #StopSucking For A Strawless Ocean
Be aware of the plastic packaging that’s used to store grocery items. If your grocery shop only offers plastic packaged fruits and veggies, explore another supermarket close to you that offers unpackaged produce! Your oranges don’t need to be in the orange net, nor do your apples have to be packaged in a plastic bag — they already got natural protection! Grab them individually and store them in a cloth bag while doing grocery shopping. If you are having your groceries delivered, you can kindly request them to not pack individual fruits and veggies in plastic bags.
Apply minimalism. Only buy what you really need.
Reuse. Gather water from your shower, while you wait for it to get warm and flush your toilets with it instead of leaving your toilets unflushed after peeing (you can if you drink enough fluids and it doesn’t stink). Reuse the plastic bags that were unavoidable at the supermarket or store for your cat litter, dog poo, or toilet bins. Wash your ziplock bags, and you can use them a couple of more times!
Recycle. What you can’t reuse, recycle. Have a separate bin for recyclable materials such as glass, paper, and plastic. Many cities have recycling initiatives and give clear guidelines on what recyclables they’ll pick-up. If your city doesn’t offer such solutions, get in touch with the local government, and put pressure on them to implement or improve their waste management priorities. Recycling isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than a landfill.
Donate to a local organization. If you can, donate to a local organization focussed on preserving your local environment. You don’t need to only donate money, but you can also donate your time or skills to help them become stronger organizations. One of our team members recommends planting a tree via TreeNation. This organization partners with planting sites around the world and involves locals in the planting process which educates more people on the importance of preserving nature as well as actually preserve nature.
It all starts with small baby-steps. If we all consciously work to make a change, we can beat trash and other pollutants together! Let’s take charge and be the change we want to see. We need to stop killing our planet.
“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try” — John F. Kennedy