I asked a few friends and relatives how they think working from home has affected their carbon footprint.
Both our sons are self-employed. One son is a marine engineer based at a boatyard which is also his home. Reduction in travelling has been the main difference for all of his family with him going out less to jobs, his wife not going to university and the children not going to school. This of course is now returning to 'normal'. Their supermarket shopping has been less frequent which means less car trips out too.
The other son is a sound and AV engineer who travelled frequently by road, rail and air to events and conferences. His job has changed considerably as the events are now conducted online and he is working completely from home. He thinks that when 'real' events return many of them will stay 'Virtual' which will make sense both environmentally and economically.
His girlfriend has noticed the reduction paperwork in the office at the vet practise she works at, all documents being viewed on the computer screen instead of being printed out.
Both enjoy using their bikes for shopping and other local trips and plan to carry on!
A friend who works for DEFRA has been at home for the last year and tells me that their offices in Westminster have now been cleared and many of the staff moved permanently away from London. She is happy with the arrangement as she now has time for a dog and interestingly says that she seems to be getting to know her colleagues better since she has been seeing them on screen rather than in the office!
I read that the newspaper group Reach which owns several of the dailies has recently informed ¾ of their staff that they will be expected to continue working from home in future as they are closing many of their local offices.
Everyone I have spoken to for this article has pointed out the extra impact on emissions and cost of heating their homes all day (extra important to make them energy efficient!). They all agreed that less time spent travelling and more at home means more time for other interests (all those sourdough bread photos on social media!) and less waste and packaging.
Being at home means that you can wear your pyjamas if you want! No need to buy so many clothes. The Charity Shop in Audlem was very well supported during the summer with their outdoor stall demonstrating that many of us are recycling and using clothes and household goods and helping to reduce the high environmental cost of the fashion industry.
So, one year on from the beginning of the first lockdown we are all hoping to move out of the second. Tackling the Climate Emergency is essential so let us all do our bit by taking forward the experiences of the last year to make for a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and a sustainable future for our planet.
Make a better future for our children.