Simon Says: Sustainable Living Should Be the Only Option

Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist, LifeSize

In this series, Simon Dudley, LifeSize’s video evangelist, provides his “two cents” about the video conferencing industry and why video calling should be as ubiquitous as a phone call.

You may think that driving to and from work every day in bumper-to-bumper traffic is just an unfortunate part of life. Yes, it is miserable sitting in the car and trying to maneuver your way to work, but the “daily commute” is so much more than an annoyance.

Did you know that the average American spends just under 50 minutes a day traveling to and from work?

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Imagine how much pollution is being released into the atmosphere during those peak times. Everyone knows that the more cars there are on the road, the worse it is for our environment. Not only that, those individuals then go into their offices and use even more resources: such as heating/air conditioning, pounds upon pounds of paper, tons of electronics and overhead lighting (just to name a few). With so many employees in so many offices around the world, this type of unsustainable work model could really lead to severe consequences. Wouldn’t it be great if there were another way?

These days, almost everything you have in an office, you probably already have in your home. Got a laptop? A scanner, fax machine and printer? Got the Internet? Why do you need to go to an office to use the exact same machines? Let’s face it; all you really need these days is the Internet.

So why do we drag ourselves into the office every morning? Human interaction, of course (and yes, all of those dreaded meetings). But, why not use video communications for those instead? I understand that you might not want to do all of your meetings that way, but what about three days a week? You still need to see people and feel a sense of place, but do you honestly need to do that every day? Think what would happen to your daily commute if there were 60 percent fewer cars in front of you on the freeway. It would be like commuting on New Year’s Day. It would be joyful.

I think we can all agree that what we are doing today is not sustainable. What can we do about it?

1. Commute less. Don’t go to the office to use devices you already have at home.

2. Fly less. In the real world, I don’t actually mean, “fly less”, but try to hold back the growth a bit. Over 50,000 people are in the air at any one moment. If we contain the growth a bit, we won’t have 5,000,000. Or if we do, they might actually be going somewhere for a nice vacation rather than a business meeting.

3. Think about the environment and consider small changes you can make to save our planet. Cutting your daily commute, using electronic documents instead of paper and using energy-saving light bulbs are all easy fixes.

In my opinion, time is the most valuable of all commodities. Every person gets the same number of hours in the day. The time that you save by not flying and not being in the office is the time that really matters. Family, friends, community, a sense of belonging to one place, not traveling to hundred others, and freedom: isn’t that ultimately the American dream?

- +Simon Dudley

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