Decarbonist Manifesto of a homeworking copywriter

Jo Warburton

halo copy

I work mostly on my own. I work from home. I travel very little. My raw materials are words (and occasionally numbers). So what does carbon reduction look like for me?

Prior to recent Carbon Literacy Training, I wasn’t entirely sure what more I could do to drive down the emissions of my business.

My place of work (aka my house) has been signed up to a green energy tariff for years. The thermostat is at a level just above tolerable. I’ve chosen a green web host, a 1% For The Planet accountant and a niche in supporting purpose-led organisations, that hopefully makes my climate shadow a more positive one.

But what I learned through my training is that I could be making some small, simple changes that will help drive down the carbon footprint of my business. I’m bundling these all up, along with some rather more obvious commitments, into what I’m tongue-in-cheekily calling my ‘The Decarbonise Manifesto’ (still a political theorist at heart).

Desk-based carbon reduction

For me, it’s the smaller stuff that’s perhaps the most interesting. That’s probably because I’d not previously been thinking about it. I’m talking about little changes that can broadly be captured by the commitment to ‘adopting more carbon-conscious desk habits’. Most of these centre around better email practices to reduce my demands on energy-using networks and data centres – things like:

  • regularly clearing down inboxes (there is a cost to poor housekeeping)
  • sending fewer unnecessary ‘thank you’ emails
  • reducing the size of emails by being succinct and removing logos and other images (estimates for the carbon footprint of emails– range from around 0.3g for the smallest for instance to 17g for the kind of laptop-generated email that I might typically send).
  • not replying to long email chains without first cutting out the unnecessary bits
  • not ‘replying to all’ before considering whether ‘all’ actually need a reply
  • unsubscribing from mailings I no longer read

but they also touch on finding lower carbon ways of working with clients:

  • texting rather than emailing, if appropriate
  • using the phone rather than video calls, if that works for everyone. And, if it has to be a video call, discussing turning off cameras (since that apparently reduces the call’s energy use by over 90%!).

In the game of carbon reduction, these things are small fry, admittedly, but they’re so easily doable, so why wouldn’t you?

In the slightly bigger picture, I’ve signed up to ecologi to offset the carbon emissions of my business. I’m also trying to talk more about climate change and carbon reduction – and this post is part of that commitment. And I’m trying not to agonise too much over the carbon impact of more posts and socials – but will use them sparingly – (whilst fighting the urge to use my agony to justify silence!).

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