In recent decades, the state of the global climate has been at the forefront of most people’s minds. When 15-year-old student Greta Thunberg began to skip school and instead spend her days outside of Parliament protesting climate change, the whole world began to watch.
Over the course of the following months, citizens all over the world took to the streets of their cities to speak up against governmental inaction across the globe. In a recent study conducted by Earth Day Canada, a whopping 45% of Canadians are currently living with eco-anxiety: the fear of environmental destruction or ecological disaster.
Though fighting against climate change can sometimes feel futile, there are a number of concrete steps you can take in your personal and professional life to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce the global demand for fossil fuels, and decreases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
By applying these small changes in your day-to-day career life, you can contribute to a greener world.
Let The Sun Shine In
Mother nature always does it best. If you work in an environment that has a lot of windows, take advantage of them! Rather than having your overhead lights on, as well as your desk lamp, make the most of the natural daylight during the hours that you have access to it.
If you are an employer, emphasize the importance of reducing electricity in the office. Oftentimes, people aren’t aware of the many reasons why reducing electricity consumption helps the environment.
Meeting rooms, pantries, reception, corridors, and stairs should all have their lights turned off while not in use. If no one is in the room for more than a few seconds, turn off the lights!
Laptops Before Desktops
When purchasing office equipment, keep in mind that laptops often waste less energy than desktops. When at all possible, turn to your laptop before heading to your desktop.
The size of a computer’s monitor has an impact on the amount of energy used. While graphic designers and those in comparable fields are typically unable to operate on smaller screens, those in administrative, data entry, sales, and related tasks should lean towards smaller monitor options.
When choosing a monitor, it is important to make the appropriate decision and reduce the screen size when possible. Smaller monitors chew up less energy and create a greener working environment overall.
Make Friends With The ‘Off’ Switch
When not in use, turn off and unplug any equipment, just as you would with lighting. During weekends and holidays, this includes air conditioners, coffee & vending machines, hand dryers, microwaves, printers, copiers, and scanners.
Even when plugged in, these electrical devices continue to drain power. This is also known as vampire energy drain or standby energy consumption. Shockingly, “these phantom energy suckers can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electricity bill,” according to Duke Energy.
After working hours, make sure all of your devices are unplugged to save energy and money on yours or your boss’ electricity bill.
Paperless When Possible
Most files and documents nowadays can be sent, shared, viewed, and edited digitally. Whenever possible, avoid printing. Paper is very quickly becoming a thing of the past, and for a good reason.
From start to finish, the manufacturing and disposal cycle of paper is harmful to the environment. It begins with the removal of a tree and concludes with the burning of the discarded paper, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Additionally, water is used extensively in the papermaking process. Each sheet of A4 paper uses 10 liters of water.
While we understand paper is not yet entirely avoidable – though that day is coming – eliminating your use of it wherever possible will do the environment wonders.
Don’t Touch The Thermostat
As tempting as it may be to crank the thermostat up a few notches on cold winter days, or pump up the AC in the summer months, these may be contributing to a significant spike in your business’ electrical bill.
By keeping your thermostat within a few degrees of the temperature outside, you could reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10%
Simple measures such as keeping doors and windows closed when the heating is on help to avoid unnecessary energy waste by allowing heated air to escape and cold air to enter.
Also, be sure your radiators and air conditioners are in the proper location and are not blocked by furniture, since this reduces their efficacy.
While the current climate crisis can feel overwhelming, it is important to combat eco-anxiety in Canadians by taking conscious steps towards a healthier planet.
Most people spend 40 hours a week in their place of work; it’s worthwhile to make sure those hours are eco-conscious.
Simple measures such as turning off lights, unplugging devices when they aren’t in use, bundling up in the winter, and opting for laptops when possible will leave your office, cubicle or establishment feeling environmentally sound.