"We took the wrong step years ago"



Or so sang Hawkwind in the 70s, along with plenty of others in the 'hippy' music business. And yes, I know it's wonderful to have hindsight and we're now almost 40 years down the line, but I do believe that it's not too late to save the environment, to (literally) save planet Earth.

There's no point in a long rant here, since you'll see appeals and reports from 'green' organisations almost every day in mainstream media. But I felt I wanted to comment on the latest little freebie from Nokia: we:offset, a Carbon footprint calculator, along with a facility to donate an appropriate amount to projects that aim to balance your footprint out. It's a worthy release, don't get me wrong, every little helps, and full credit to Nokia for good intentions.

But the trouble is that it is just that - little - and way too late in the grand scheme of things. We're talking here mainly about transport, i.e. the energy expended and Carbon footprint incurred by getting people from point A to point B. Am I alone in the world in reckoning that if we could just cut down on the amount people travel then the footprints would be smaller all round and we wouldn't need to feel guilty and then donate money to green projects.

I'm constantly appalled by how much time and energy is wasted by people travelling to work - yes, we can't all work from home [like I do], but imagine if home working was increased across the board by 10% or 20%? An awful lot of people sit in traffic jams for an hour to get to work, just to sit in front of a computer all day, or stand around chatting. Then back into the jams again to get home. Please, someone, anyone, tell me why these people couldn't do this from home on most days, armed with a PC or Mac and broadband?

And then when they finally get a holiday, do they stay at home? Nope. They sit in longer traffic jams to get to an airport and then they incur an even bigger Carbon footprint by flying - completely unnecessarily - to some Godforsaken part of the globe!

I'm all for the global village - but we can make it happen using modern communications. Let's cut down on use of planes and cars and feel good about ourselves and the planet at the same time.

Comments

Mark Laris said…
I agree with you Steve. Like you, I also work from home. I use my car so little that I have not had to buy gas since the end of May. In addition to the reduced carbon foot print, I find that I am far more productive at home than in some office. The problem is that people like you and I are early adopters of technology but the people running big businesses are not. That said, Nokia is at least trying to make a difference and that's a start.
AC said…
Ok, so I work from home and no longer have a car but I must confess to being one of those people caught up in the whole Air Miles/Status thing... I do make yearly contributions to Tree Canada to offset my international flights:

http://www.treecanada.ca/index_e.htm

I would probably at least try out Nokia's Earth-friendly app out for the curiosity of seeing how much bad stuff I produce, but I would probably use it only as a rough guide to my annual charitable contributions...
Duncan J Murray said…
Sadly not for me. There's no substitute for being at work as a doctor... And as part of our training / NHS employer, it's difficult to pick and choose exactly where we want to work. My carbon footprint must be awful, as bad as my expenditure on fuel...

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