Going green is more than a fad – it’s an important way of life. The planet is undergoing extreme climate change, at a rate that isn’t unprecedented in temperature, but unprecedented in speed – the last time CO2 was being dumped into the atmosphere at this rate, it was due to the eruptions of several super volcanoes, and it caused an acidification of the oceans that wiped out 90 percent of the planet’s marine life – an event known as the “Great Dying”, as per a feature on the Independent.
This is serious business. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions displayed a “disturbing increase” this year, according to a report covered by the Sydney Morning Herald. This year was among the hottest on record, and with land-clearing, a rise in the use of coal and gas, and a steep drop in the use of hydro and wind power, emissions ticked up.
More needs to be done – not just at home, but at the work place. An increase in temperature will mean more heat waves, further famine in developing countries, and an enflamed crisis in the Middle East as food shortages become worse with the rising temperatures, alongside a dangerous rise in the world’s sea level. So what can you do to help do your part against pollution and climate change?
It’s both easy on the wallet, and easy on the environment. Avoid using a car – if you have one, it may even be warranted to sell it. Sticking to cycling if your office is close enough, or simply taking the bus is best. By cutting down on how much greenhouse gas you’re emitting on your way to the office, you can cut down on a huge amount of personal emissions in a year.
Even better, if your company allows it, take the time to work from home as much as possible and send in your projects through the cloud.
Go Digital to Save Paper and Ink
Deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change, due to the fact that such a large amount of timber is sourced from some of the world’s most important “lungs”, such as the Amazon forest – 20 percent of which we’ve eliminated over the past forty years, according to IFL Science. That’s so much damage that it’s visible from space.
On another note, deforestation leads to the eviction of local tribes – who cannot integrate into modern society with any level of ease, and have their entire culture destroyed by companies profiting from deforestation and logging – and the death of undiscovered species of mammals and insects that live within the portions of the forest that are cleared out on a daily basis.
While a large percentage of deforestation is to clear land for soy production and animal agriculture, part of the profit from logging in the Amazon goes into the production of paper. Paper isn’t necessary today – most of what’s being printed out today can instead be digitized and kept stored virtually.
When paper does have to be used, remember to set your printer to double-sided, so you don’t leave a page half-empty.
Cut Meetings Through Video Conferencing
Meetings – both between co-workers and between a business and its clients – tend to be a waste of time and resources. Video conferencing can cut travel time and costs, but can also help eliminate the emissions caused by a business trip. Opt for high-definition premium conference calls through services like Blue Jeans, instead of getting on a plane to travel halfway across the world to speak to a client face-to-face.
Bring Local Food to the Office
Produce and meat travels hundreds of miles across the country from farms to supermarkets, and into the fridge of consumers. To cut down on the emissions caused by industrial agriculture, support your local farmers instead. Strike up a relationship with your local butcher, and take an interest in the source of your meat, and look into what farms in your area participate in selling their produce at easily accessible farmer’s markets.
Local food isn’t just better for the environment – it’s healthier, as well. Smaller farms tend to require a higher quality of produce and meat to justify competing against the larger farms, which rely on quantity over quality. Free from preservatives and in some cases, free from pesticides and herbicides, local produce can be a great way to get nutritious vegetables as close to the source plant as possible.
Get Others in On It
Finally, get others in on your drive to going green! If you’re a business owner, then you can easily implement the promotion of local farmers as a better alternative to supermarket brands, and you can even make Meatless Monday’s a part of your company’s lunch-time policy to advocate the elimination of some of the emissions caused by animal agriculture.
There are many ways to go green at home and at the office – but the real magic comes in getting others to start on their green habits, as well.