While I have to admit I’ve never been a green activist and cringe at the thought of Birkenstocks and granola, I am becoming more aware that I can–and should–do some things in my life and career that will make them a bit greener. Perhaps, it has dawned on me recently due to my current career as a freelance writer. I have the luxury of being able to balance my life by working at home and avoiding the time-wasting activities of commuting and corporate life. I just had a friend tell me that she spends four hours of her life each day on the road. Imagine what can be done in those four hours let alone how the environment could have a break if she wasn’t in the car that long? I’m not, in any way, criticizing her because the majority of people have to drive and commute to work, but many possibilities remain for having more people work from their homes and reclaim their personal lives while cutting down on their emissions contributions.
What drove the point home for me recently was the signature line of a UK company’s email that I work for called Academic Knowledge (they help university students around the world by having writers like me research and write their papers! It’s a dream job for me, I love it!). Their signature line stated that they were a carbon zero company. Wow! Imagine if more businesses tried to do that. So then, I wondered if I could do a better job on shrinking my ginormous carbon footprint.
Leaving my old school writing ways of endless paper trails, consisting of printed emails, faxes, and reearch behind, I’ve changed how I approach my freelance writing business:
- I use an efax that sends and receives faxes from my email address but my clients still have a fax number that they can reach me on if they want to work that way. I can add a digital signature, cover page, and files directly to the email fax so that I never have to print anything out unless there is some legal reason to keep a copy in some physical file.
- I avoid printing out anything unless I absolutely have to and, when I do, then I use both sides of the paper. This avoids the use of paper, ink cartridges, and electricity.
- I turn off and unplug all of my equipment when it is not in use for an extended period of time.
- I encourage clients to pay me electronically rather than mailing me a check.
- I pay my bills online but that might also be my personal protest about rapidly increasing stamp prices. Don’t even mention to me that the USPS might declare bankruptcy. Don’t even get me started on them.
- I don’t drive to and from work and prefer working with people in the UK and Australia that are happy to have a writer far afield to work with via the Internet. So, take that oil companies!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking for someone to give me a “green star” or shout accolades at me. I just think it is important to exchange some simple ideas that might make a difference and convince a few friends and colleagues to think about how they might be able to move to a home-based career!