How to keep your footprint low after Corona

How to keep your footprint low after Corona

Published on Jun 06, 2020 by Fabienne Muff

8 healthy lockdown habits for you and the planet

The coronavirus pandemic forced people worldwide to stay at home resulting in both positive and negative impacts on the natural world. The impacts of COVID-19 on nature are elaborated in more detail in the previous blog post but in this article, I want to focus on how to keep up the positive effects lockdown has had on nature.

Work from home if you can

Home office comes with countless advantages for employees, employers and the environment. Employees benefit from a more flexible working schedule; more freedom and less micro-management; zero commuting time; a comfortable, accustomed and relaxed working environment; and the opportunity to spend more time with pets and loved ones. Happier employees perform higher quality and more efficient work, a huge attraction for employers. On top of better work delivered the employers also profit from smaller office space and material cost.

As the commuting falls away when working from home, a lot of greenhouse gas emissions can be saved, which is where the natural world benefits.

Many companies are sluggish with changes like that but now - after the largest home office experiment the world has ever seen due to COVID-19 lockdowns - many employers have seen and experienced the advantages and are more willing to change. A lot of companies have already pledged to go fully remote. This is the future.

Try to push for remote working in your company.

Avoid business trips

Another work related habit that changed during lockdown and should remain is the huge reduction of business trips. We’ve never had better technology to have video meetings.

I agree that sometimes it is really helpful to meet up in person. Of course not all business trips are equal - a two hour train journey will have a much lighter impact than flying in for a meeting and flying out again. Just try to think before the next business trip - is it really necessary to go? Could it be done via video call? If you think so, then raise your voice and ask the person responsible.

Personally I have experienced many courses, meetings and events being converted into video calls and webinars - and for me it was great. I appreciated not only the reduction of emitted carbon dioxide but also the extra time saved by not commuting.

Travel by bike

For daily trips out of the house for appointments, grocery shopping or even work (when you can’t do home office), consider taking the bike.

Bike travel spiked during the pandemic and it’s not surprising - biking is a super efficient way to get from A to B, which also keeps you and the planet healthy.

Explore your home country during your holidays

Switzerland is incredibly beautiful and has so much to offer. Nevertheless, many residents here haven’t seen a lot of it and prefer to travel far away to enjoy their holidays. This is probably also true for your home country!

This urge to travel and explore is a recent trend and is accompanied with the ‘fear of missing out’. There are people traveling large distances just to lie on the beach and do very little - does it really matter where that beach is?

Don’t get me wrong here. In my opinion travelling can be very enriching and helps humans all over to connect and become more tolerant. However a lot of holiday trips don’t have those positive effects at all and could be easily changed into local holidays.

Local holidays also come a lot cheaper and save you time!

Buy local

During the lockdowns there was a significant increase in local purchases - little farmer shops were flourishing. People were avoiding the supermarkets. Why not continue to support your local farmers and simultaneously enjoy fresh foods and reduce your food emissions?

For me it was an eye opener, as I wasn’t even aware of all the farmer shops around my home. Walking or biking to your nearby shops can be an enjoyable way to get some exercise and support your local shops.

Think twice before buying online

This is actually not a habit which changed for the good during COVID-19. Online shopping increased significantly as many people had time at home and it is very tempting and easy to do.

Here I want to encourage you to think twice before buying online. Just buy what you really need. So many things are bought, just for the short-lived good feeling one gets when receiving the purchases, and then rarely used or never at all.

The more things you buy and own the bigger your carbon footprint as every item has an embodied footprint form production, transport and later disposal.

Buy what you need and then fully enjoy and take care of it. That will also make your wallet a bit happier.

Do sport and activities at and around your home

There are so many sports you can do outdoors like jogging, yoga, hiking, swimming (depending if there is a lake or sea nearby you and how cold it is…), body weight exercises, and the list goes on and on. Some of those can also be done at home indoors without any equipment. So why go to the gym with the car, when you can save money and emissions and win fresh air and a great feeling of being outdoors in nature.

Reconnect with nature and your pets

Last but not least, a lot of people had the chance to reconnect with nature during lockdown due to more time spent surrounded by it, thinking about it and feeling it.

Before the corona pandemic, many rarely saw their pets during office hours COVID-19 gave us the chance to reconnect with them too and appreciate our animal friends. This is extremely beneficial for mental health and happiness, but also for nature - the more the natural world is appreciated by you the more inclined you are to protect it.

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