Initiating a positive climate change while operating your freelance business

Today’s post is about Climate Change (an initiative by BlogActionDay.org — Blog Action Day ).

Climate change is not just the problem of those who think about it and want to take some proactive action. It is a problem we all face, whether we accept it or act like an ostrich. When the polar ice melts and costal cities get submerged the impact is all pervasive. When our kids develop asthma and other pollution-related illnesses it no longer remains an "activism" issue. When the marine life starts withering it affects the entire food chain. When there are flash draughts, flash cyclones and sudden pest attacks we all bear the brunt. So it’s an issue that concerns us all.

Do you know that just by working as a freelancer, from home, you contribute so much towards keeping the climate of the planet healthier? How? Easy. By not commuting on a daily basis.

60% of the pollution we have today comes from automobiles, if I’m not mistaken. Not all pollution is generated by the office going travelers, but with millions of people going to offices at least 5-days-a-week you can very well imagine the kind of strain they put on the fragile environment. No, I don’t mean to say that we should all stop going to offices and go back to the village economies (they’re not actually bad, but not feasible in the contemporary sense), but there are some organizations that are just trapped in the old rut. Many employees can telecommute, many can work from home and they can go to offices when extremely necessary.

So the moment you start freelancing from home you start contributing towards a cleaner environment.

Other than the not-traveling-to-work-factor, there are many proactive steps you can take to make your freelance business more environment friendly.

Reduce your energy consumption

Consuming more energy while working doesn’t just mean paying higher electricity bills, it also means increasing the use of natural resources needed to produce that energy. Even if you can easily afford the bill of using extra energy, imagine how much oil or other fuels are being used to produce that extra energy you are using, and could have avoided using.

You can economize the use of power by taking small steps:

  • Switch off your computer when not in use: There is a misconception that it harms your computer if you switch it on and off repeatedly. On an average a computer can be safely switched on and off 40,000 times. So if you’re not going to use your computer or laptop for a couple of hours and it is just lying there in the room, switch it off. Even in hibernation your computer uses power. Your computer uses lots of power even if your screen saver is running.
  • Use equipments that use less power: Laser printer uses more power than an inkjet printer. A bigger monitor uses more energy than a smaller one. A flat screen monitor is more efficient than a regular monitor.
  • Use natural light as much as possible: Do you have a nice window in your room and do you work when it’s normally bright outside? You can save electricity by using that natural light, instead of using lamps and bulbs, and even if you have to use bulbs, there are many options available these days that give more light and use less power.
  • Maintain your hardware properly: If your computer or laptop is generating too much heat it puts extra strain on your cooling system and consequently, you end up using more power.
  • Work faster: Improve your overall work efficiency. This way you’ll use less time in front of your computer. You’ll need less light because you’ll finish your work while it’s naturally bright around you.
  • Use solar or wind power if you can manage: If you have lots of open space around your house and you live in a sunny or a windy area, and if you can afford, you can tap these renewable resources to meet your energy needs. The affordability, unfortunately, right now, is a big factor, as these technologies, being still in various development stages, are quite expensive to implement.

Use less paper

Papers are actually destroying the forests of the world and this is unleashing unprecedented global warming. These days you can generate practically every document digitally. You can send electronic invoices to your clients. You can completely computerize your accounting. There are many tools available that let you take down notes online or on your desktop (in fact they are more efficient and easier to maintain and retrieve). You can read every major newspaper or magazine under the sun online. There are 1000s of ebooks available (both free and commercial) that you can easily download and read.

Use public transport for longer distances and cycle for shorter ones

If you have a decent public transportation system in your city then use that to cover longer distances, instead of using your vehicle (are you still using one of those fuel guzzlers, by the way?). Using your cycle to visit the neighborhood store not only makes you healthy, it also helps you reduce your carbon footprint.

Raise awareness around you and educate your kids

One of the most wonderful things about freelancing from your home is that you are always in the community. You are there when your kids are home. It’s not easy to run a business from home and it takes up lots of time and effort, nonetheless, compared to an office going person, you get to spend more time with your kids and spouse. Educate them about a positive climate change and what habits they can inculcate to improve our environment. Involve them in the activities. Encourage them to get the community involved and inform people.

Volunteer your skills, talent and knowledge

There are many NGOs actively working towards a cleaner environment and they can definitely use your abilities. Take some time out of your busy schedule and explore the possibilities of working with them as a volunteer.

Participate in online activities that spread awareness

Like the one currently happening at BlogActionDay.org. 100s of 1000s of blogs right now are writing about the issue and if the perception of just a few hundred individuals can be changed with this activity it’s all so worth it. It doesn’t have to be something very length. Just post a few paragraphs, create a sketch or a video or an animation and put it on your website. In fact, this gives me a great idea. Once in a month I’m going to write about Climate Change on this blog. Kindly drop in your ideas on what all I should write about.