More Green Time

John O'Reilly, 30th Apr 2020

More Green Time

Is video collaboration the answer to helping nature and the environment further rejuvenate?

Over the past few weeks, companies everywhere have been quick to adopt working from home. Shifting to the "home office" is becoming the new norm for most people. However, for me, as a remote working software engineer, things remain pretty much unchanged, coronavirus or not. For ten years now I've been operating from my office upstairs at home just outside Galway, in the West of Ireland.

Being able to live and work in what to me is one of the most beautiful places on earth, makes me realize how incredibly lucky I am. Especially when I think about how my parents once had to relocate to London from rural Ireland to find work. Technology and the internet, along with more widespread broadband availability, have enabled people from even the most remote places to connect, forge and maintain relationships with people from all over the world, both socially and professionally. And video collaboration is only fueling that further.

Positive effect on the world

On recent walks in the countryside where I live, I began thinking more and more about this and how other aspects of video are having a positive effect on the world as we all come to grips with a global pandemic. Particularly regarding nature and the environment.

As governments try to contain the spread of COVID-19 by locking down whole cities and countries, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have rapidly decreased. There have also been some remarkable stories about wildlife reclaiming their domains – from coyotes roaming the deserted streets of LA and San Francisco to dolphins reappearing in the canals of Venice, Italy. With flights and all other forms of transport either suspended or severely reduced, our carbon footprint, as well as our invasion of natural habitat, is lessening each day we remain in lockdown.

Eco-friendly solution

These kinds of environmental issues have been on my mind for quite some time, as aside from my role at Neat, I often attend and occasionally give talks at international events related to software development. What with myself, other participants and attendees often traveling from far and wide, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of an impact we were leaving. Obviously, with all near-future events now canceled, COVID-19 soon put pay to those concerns and has forced me and many others to rethink how we can creatively get together now that we can't physically be in one location. As a result, I'm currently in discussions with several groups about how I can give virtual talks from my home using Zoom instead.

Thanks to video helping millions of others collaborate and engage in work and social activities during the lockdowns, everyone's now far more aware of how it can contribute to radical environmental change. I just hope that once the current restrictions ease up, people carry on using video in ways that continue to help our world become a healthier, more sustainable place. It's time we all acknowledge that both our health and that of our planet are one of the same.