How can I be more sustainable in my work?
This latest crisis doesn’t only give me a headache sometimes, it also gives me (a lot of) time to think. I have been walking around thinking about how I can make a difference. And the first thing that popped up was to contribute more to a sustainable economy & society. I already do my best with things like separating waste, and trying to limit my use of water and energy. But I do not do much about it through my work. That’s an opportunity, right?
I started asking colleagues and friends how they think we could make our field of work more sustainable.
What can we do?
During a discussion I started with my mastermind group with the question: Do you have any ideas about how we [developers & designers] can attempt to work more sustainably?
During the discussion that followed one of them came up with a definition of sustainability: “Is it finding a balance between people, planet & economy?” I kind of agree with him, if you count all living beings as part of ‘planet’. Wikipedia defines three similar domains: environment, economic and social.
Then we came up with a few themes and keywords:
- Remote & distributed work
- Digital wellbeing and humane design
- User tracking (privacy)
- Right to repair
- Sustainable energy usage - emission free hosting, low energy consuming hardware, like ARM-based architecture in devices like phones / raspberry pi
- Less consumerism
Those first three resonate the most (or easiest) with me and are an important part of my work already.
Remote & distributed work
I think there’s so much potential to work in a way more flexible way than most people are used to. And I am convinced many organizations will be discovering the value in that during this time of forced working from home.
Focusing on features that actually help people thrive and improve their wellbeing, is something I’d love to see happen more instead of focusing on how to win and keep attention by using dark patterns that are thoroughly regulated in casinos while we set our kids loose on Facebook.
In privacy a lot more is happening already, with recent changes in European laws. You might complain about those cookie walls, but they give us insight and opportunity to choose if and how we let ourselves be tracked.
How can I make a difference?
This is just a personal exploration and I might write a bit more about this in the time to come. This friday my Mastermind buddies and I will have a call about it and in preparation for that I would love to get your input.
How would you suggest I can, through my work, contribute to a more sustainable economy (and in the end, save the world)?
Let me know on Twitter, Linkedin, or send me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org! 💚
Some semi-random links
- A definition of sustainability on Wikipedia
- Interesting insights into the opportunities and risks of remote and distributed work by John Maeda.
- A beautiful resource about Humane Design I picked up from Patrick’s Good Monday newsletter (in Dutch).
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