When we think of living a greener lifestyle, it is normal to think instantly of using public transport rather than a car, of buying locally produced, in season food grown organically. Of better insulating our homes and turning off lights when we don’t need them.
But many of us spend as much time at work each week as we do at home, and so our career choice also has the potential to have a massive impact on our carbon footprint. Yet very few people seem to discuss this topic.
Certainly one could argue that no matter how much recycling an airline pilot does, his carbon footprint is going to be huge. Others might claim that planes are going to fly anyway, so what is the harm in him earning an honest wage, especially if he does his bit at home?
And of course this is an extreme example. If you work in a shop, for example, it could be argued that your work is seriously contributing to global warming. Shops are, after all, massive producers of greenhouse gases in terms of transportation, of packaging use and of waste. Again, it could be argued that if you weren’t doing then job then someone else would, but is this really enough of an argument?
Have you ever considered the environmental impact of your everyday work? Not just getting to and from work, but in terms of whether you are helping to increase or decrease the effect on the planet?
For a truly green career, there are of course some options those these are sadly rather limited at the moment. Working for environmental charities, energy reduction consultancies and so on all have the potential to help the planet if they are well run.
For most of us though with mortgages to pay and families to support, changing to a totally green career seems rather unrealistic however tempting. The best that most of us can do is to become an activist in our normal jobs.
Take the time to examine your place of work to figure out how you can reduce the carbon footprint not only of yourself but also the company as a whole. Be an evangelist for the green movement, offer suggestions and make is easy to make your workplace more environmentally conscious.
Just a few ideas could include ensuring there are proper recycling facilities at work, trying to make sure that electrical items aren’t left in if needed, introducing a bicycle loan system and reducing the amount of paper used by corresponding via email, phone or in person wherever possible.
Have you implemented any positive changes at work? If so, please let me know what you did, and how easy it was to get support for your plans…