TAKING A PARENTAL LEAVE CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
I was trying to think of what I could contribute from my little corner of the universe for Blog Action Day and it dawned on me that the fact that I am able to slow life down, to take time to write and think was itself symptomatic of something wonderful that has emerged recently in my life. Allow me to explain;
Living in Canada, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to take a paid parental leave from work after the birth of my third child (the most beautiful baby girl in the known universe) Above and beyond the many other benefits of this for my family, such as having more time together and reducing our costs, I have been thinking about the tremendous environmental benefits of being able to take an extended time off from work, which in my case has been about 9 months.
The most obvious environmental benefit has been a dramatic decrease in the use of my car. Prior to taking the leave of absence I was commuting approximately 300 km/week (1200 km/month) , whereas I drive that amount now only every two weeks or so (about 600km/month). This has reduced my carbon emissions significantly and I have also had the chance to walk around more and become a generally more healthy human being.
I am so thrilled about this that while I have been off work I have been taking the time to contemplate ways of transferring closer to home for when I do return back to work, not only to reduce my ecological footprint, but to eliminate an excessive and soul sapping commute (that is only redeemed by a fantastic array of great podcasts that are my lifeline).
My mental environment has also been transformed as well by this experience, giving me time to step out of the rat race for a while, breathe, and take a look around. It has given me freedom to take on little projects like composting, making healthier homemade foods, writing, scheming, walking my neighbourhood and shopping locally - things that are better for the earth, my soul, and my family.
Anyways, this is just my small story and I realize that not everyone is in a position to take a leave of absence from work. If you live in jurisdiction or work for a company that doesn't have legislated parental leaves I would recommend lobbying for this, as the benefits are tremendous. With the increasingly digitized workplace there are also more opportunity than ever to work at home. This is also a positive step.
Any chance to get out of your people mover and be closer to home is always a great moment indeed!
Also, check out Clean Air Pass as one way to invest in projects related to fighting climate change that are in direct proportion to your own estimated level of carbon emissions per year.