Just a few months ago, I doubt anyone would have predicted that workplace decentralization would come into place in 2020 for any reason other than climate change. Who would have believed that in 2020 the entire world would be united in a race to stop the spread of a novel coronavirus, forcing all of us to avoid gathering in large groups and instead work from home? I think it’s safe to say that no one saw this coming.

So what’s the takeaway? For us, it’s that cooperation and unity really are possible. Until now environmental and social justice issues have mainly been a “mashup of philanthropy, employee engagement, renewable energy programs, and investor relations.” But now that we’ve seen people from all walks of life come together to overcome a global health crisis – it’s time to pause and reflect on our responsibility to protect the planet. Instead of throwing our arms up and pretending our personal habits have no lasting impact, we can each make minor changes in our routines for a healthier future!

Here are 5 environmentally friendly tips to keep in mind while working from home. Let’s decide to collectively grow from this experience and return more firm in our resolve to achieve sustainable development for all.

  1. Buy Less “Stuff”: You don’t want to end up on the COVID-19 edition of Hoarders because you’re home, bored and a little too fond of Amazon Prime. Studies show that not only does buying less help the environment it also makes us happier. The days when you could get every item on your shopping list may be over. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t limit yourself to buying only the freshest ingredients that you know you’ll use in the next few days. Remember, a little goes a long way. So shop smart by planning meals for the week.  
  2. Use What You Already Have: You also may want to take inventory of what you already have and make the most of it. Sheltering in place and “flattening the curve” means you have time to experiment. So pull out that baker’s hat your spouse got you for your birthday, and don’t forget the apron mom got you for Valentine’s. Maybe they weren’t being passive-aggressive after all. There’s no better time to take all the not-so-subtle cooking gifts and join all the other social distancing chefs who are sharing their cooking adventures on social media. Get motivated with this list of meals you can make with what’s already in your pantry or check out Netflix’s Chef & My Fridge. #pandemiccooking #pandemicbaking
  3. Buy Local, Because It’s Better: One of the most important ways buying locally helps the environment is by reducing your food miles. But we don’t want you to buy local where local options aren’t at least on par with alternatives. Try Bring It Food Hub or the South Memphis Farmers Market and tell us how much you enjoy the fresh tasty goodness of food sourced locally. 
  4. Use EcoFriendly Office Supplies: The office may be a place where American dreams come true, but it’s also a place where 2 pounds of paper and paperboard products are wasted every day. Good thing you don’t have to look any further than where you’re reading this article to find an unlimited supply writing, copying, and editing equipment: ctrl+x, ctrl+v, and ctrl+c. All kidding aside, take this time at home to intentionally print & use less paper products.
  5. Clap On Clap Off: If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, don’t fret. Like Nike says, just do it. When you leave the room, turn off the light, ceiling fan, tv – anything you aren’t using! It’s amazing how small acts like this on a daily basis can reduce the amount of power your household consumes.
  6. Give Back: Think outside your home (I know, it’s easy to forget the outside world exists!) and give back. Shelby Farms Park and Overton Park are beautiful, safe parks that are more than worthy to give back to! After all, we’re all going to need some fresh air once the shelter in place restrictions are lifted.

Did we miss any of your favorite safer-at-home sustainability tips? Tweet us and let us know!

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