Earth Day 2022 and Remote Work
How freelancing can help save our planet
A global event
Earth Day 2022 falls on Friday, April 22. This year’s theme is “Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?” according to earthday.org.
But what is the significance of Earth Day? This globally-recognised event is an annual reminder to consider the climate in its many aspects. These include the business climate, the political climate and how we act to conserve the natural climate and preserve the future of the planet.
What does this mean for freelancers?
Now, you may be wondering why this is significant for freelancers. Well, it is no secret that freelancing and the digital age have inadvertently reshaped and influenced society. Even smaller businesses and newer self-employed people can further their environmental stewardship with a little bit of focus.
In recognition of Earth Day, we’ve looked into a few ways that freelancers and businesses can implement into daily practices to protect the Earth and its resources.
What makes something sustainable?
Sustainability is such a large factor contributing toward a positive environmental impact. You may have seen businesses already implementing carbon-neutral actions to ensure sustainable practices.
But it doesn’t end here. If the process is regenerative then this is particularly desirable and improves on a neutral action. Many businesses have also taken to planting trees to focus on positive and regenerative outputs of sustainability.
The economy can be looked at simply from a carbon, energy, waste and travel point of view. Keep reading for an insight into how these areas can be greatly improved this Earth Day.
You may know the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’ This doesn’t just apply to plastic-wrapped food and products, but to your electronics too. Starting with this simple but significant motto can be a great help towards sustainability. Freelancers and businesses can look into donating older computers and electronics for parts and metals to be reused. There may also be a trade-in initiative with providers who offer discounts on new devices with the trade of an older one.
If you have a work phone as a freelancer that needs updating, why not look into potential offers from electronic companies? Many offer a trade-in for these devices and discount the price of an upgrade to avoid the growth of landfills. As electronics are always vital to keeping businesses and freelance networks running, this small step can be a nice way to maintain sustainability at the heart of your activities.
Working from home generally results in less paper and plastic waste as freelancers purchase fewer office items than in a purpose-built office. With a general societal move towards remote working, newer technologies and systems are becoming more accessible. For example, freelancers can use online invoicing systems and contract signing software which reduces the need for printing and associated waste. This includes printers and their manufacturing, ink cartridges, paper and the wrapping it all comes in.
This sounds simple, right? But there are still some more nifty ways for you to swap in sustainable practices. Thinking ahead to tomorrow’s lunch, why not prepare lunch from leftovers or cook it alongside your evening meal. This saves energy by cooking only once instead of twice and can contribute to small savings during the cost of living crisis.
The same goes for caffeine. Switching out coffee machine pods for ground beans, over the span of a year, saves a lot of plastic from landfills. This reduces waste from buying ‘convenient’ food and drink and steps away from a culture of wasteful consumption. Often Capitalism pushes an industry of immediacy at us which deters us from preparing our own meals and instead promotes plastic-wrapped meal deals. These generate a lot of waste and energy use from production, cooking and transportation.
The move away from office-based work helps to reduce waste, as already mentioned, but it also reduces the need to commute. A major benefit to being a freelancer is that generally, freelancers can work without the need for purpose-built offices. This reduces the production of such waste associated with commuting (plastic-wrapped food on the go) but also improves air quality. Without being stuck in rush hour, carbon emissions responsible for climate change and global warming are positively reduced.
A further benefit to the environment from remote working is the decentralisation of major cities. Freelancers are now provided with the possibility to move to less gentrified areas without contributing to further pollution of populous areas. The need to transport around larger cities, for example, travelling by tube across London is far reduced. Instead more walkable and cyclable towns and cities can be inhabited, promoting more blossoming local economies.
In essence, the freelancer motto could be deemed “reuse, reduce and remote.” Although it doesn’t end here. There are domino effects to your actions which mean smaller benefits can be achieved outside of direct sustainable approaches, while still positively affecting the Earth. Working flexibly and remotely can directly improve freelancers’ work-life balances, allowing greater control over time and priorities. This also reduces stress burdens from overcrowded and polluted cities. Being content with life and where you live reduces the urge for foreign holidays and pollutive air travel. This encourages people to holiday in nearby areas.
Energy used in today’s world is largely based on fossil fuels which will eventually run out. However, if energy consumption can be reduced via freelancing then this is a small step towards conservation and Earth Day’s aim.
Before you go
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