If we think about why being a locavore (one whose diet consists only of food that is grown in the local area) is such an effective approach to reducing our impact to the environment, it only makes sense. By eating locally produced foods, local businesses get economic support. Theoretically, if everyone did so, big business would transport less produce long distances, as the demand for these items would significantly decrease. If we all acted collectively on this initiative, the community would benefit, our food would be fresher, chemical preservatives would not be necessary for long trips and so we’d be healthier, and there would be a significant reduction in the fuel costs required to transport the food. Since the local farmers are able to sell their entire inventory instead of watching half of it rot away because of big business competition, and since the local farmers can now save money because they are not transporting their produce longer distances (since they have more local customers), prices in general would drop.
But why stop there? Is there another way that we can implement the locavore concept in our lives?
Observe any major metropolitan highway in America during rush hour. I’ve always wondered why they call it “rush hour”, when it appears that no one is moving. A significant increase of fuel consumption results from your car sitting at idle or moving very slowly on the road. Only ten minutes in idle costs you about 0.026 gallons of gasoline, which adds up to 9.5 ounces of carbon dioxide (and about 5 to 10 cents in fuel). A five-mile drive results in more gas usage if it takes a half hour during rush hour, versus if you can shorten your commute by always avoiding rush hour. Even if you drive only ten miles round-trip to work every day, that’s still a lot of exhaust for our earth to continue to choke on. 9.5 ounces of carbon dioxide might not sound like much, but if you’re doing it every day, year after year and the average person only idles for 20 minutes a day (10 minutes each way) and there are, say 100,000 cars on the road in your local city during rush hour, it all adds up.
If you live within five miles of where you work, consider yourself fortunate, since many drive up to an hour or more. But even if you did work that close to work, think about the impact this has to the environment. Multiply this by the millions of people who commute every day, and the number is very staggering.
So, what if we eliminated that work commute completely?
Work From Home
There are many benefits with working from home. Not only will you save money on fuel consumption (burning a gallon of gasoline produces about 11kg of carbon dioxide), thus helping the earth to breathe a little easier, you also can save on other work-related expenses as well: professional attire, day care and pet sitting costs, lunch money, and so on. Let’s not forget how much less stress and how much more personal time you will recover from your life that would have been wasted on the road. Imagine what you could do with an extra hour a day.
Granted, you may need to jump through some hoops or put a little effort into it or learn a new skill, to get to the point where you are working from home… but it can be done. And when you can finally arrange it, your life will change.
The World-Friendly Wide Web
With the internet at our disposal, we can learn to sell downloadable products (read: no shipping costs or impact to the earth) online, create websites or blogs that enable us to make our income on advertising, sell stuff on eBay, or start some sort of full-fledged online business (such as the next Google). Another option is day trading.
A Greener Wall St.
Why not try your hand at day trading? You can trade like the big dogs on Wall St. while sitting at home in your underwear. Get the proper education and trading stocks or on the foreign exchange (get started with this Forex broker comparison) can be a very lucrative business. In fact, if you get into trading the forex, your schedule opens up even more, since you can choose to work (or not) just about anytime, since the market is open 24 hours a day, almost six solid days a week.
The advent of the internet opens incredible possibilities to someone willing to make sacrifices for the environment. Of course, get to the point where you’re working from home, and it really won’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all!