Telecommuting anyone?

In 1975, we had our first Earth Day. Back then, we talked about air pollution, water pollution, excessive consumption, and litter. These things are still problems, but they’ve been pushed aside by the global warming/global cooling cults. Now that some hacked climate-scientist emails “debunked” global warming, it’s OK to pollute the air, throw trash out the car window, and dump toxic waste into the ocean? Why does that make it OK?

I drive a Prius. Go ahead, say it. Tree hugger! (But i REALLY want a Tesla!)

A while back, a coworker commented, “I bet you’re loving that Prius now that gas prices have started going back up.”

I said, “Yeah, and it spits out fewer emissions, too.”

He said, “You know the Earth is actually cooling, right?”

He totally misses the point! Does anyone remember air pollution??

The World Heath Organization reports that the air we breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and is carcinogenic to humans, THE AIR WE BREATHE!

I used to live in Southern California. I know what air pollution tastes like, smells like, and looks like. It’s gross. And it’s mostly caused by the millions of cars spewing exhaust into the atmosphere all day, every day. It wasn’t until AFTER the problem got so bad—with no going back—that they starting investing in public transportation and bike lanes. From my back yard in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego, I could see the San Diego Bay—on a clear day, which was only a few days per year. And that was more than 20 years ago. I’m sure today even with the Santa Ana winds, seeing the coast would be difficult from my old back yard.

Here in San Antonio, we have our occasional “air quality alert” days, but we have the benefit of the jet stream and Gulf breezes to clear the air. Most of our air quality alert days happen when Mexico is doing their annual burning of their fields. With more than a million cars, though, we do have air pollution.

If companies want to do their part to curb air pollution, save wear and tear on the highways, reduce insurance costs, save electricity, and take part in many any other “green initiatives,” they need to set up a telecommuting program. I’m a writer, and spend my entire day at my computer. I rarely have meetings to attend, and usually the only time I see coworkers is when I go down the hall to the bathroom. Most of my interaction with coworkers is via email, instant message, and phone. Occasionally, a coworker will stop by to chat, or to answer a question that I emailed him, but usually it’s just email. I can do that just as easily from the comfort of my own home. Not only would I not have to drive my car to work, wasting an hour or more of my day, but I also wouldn’t have to take up office space, or use the company’s electricity, heating, cooling, water, etc.

I don’t have small children to distract me while I work at home, and I have dedicated office space (which I share with my husband). There are many people with distracting children or spouses at home during the day, or who lack the discipline to work unsupervised at home. But given the opportunity, most people who work at a computer can be more efficient at home, and not be tied to the 8am to 7 pm hours. Some of my most creative thoughts come at 3 am. My only distraction is the dirty house screaming to be cleaned; a cat who likes to walk in front of my monitor, pausing just long enough to get a reaction; and my son’s Labrador. When I work at home, there are no coworkers to stop by and chat (but if I wanted to do that, I could do so with Skype, Go To Meeting, etc.), no car problems or accidents to make me late for work, no worries about dress codes (unless you do video conferencing), and back to my original premise—no air pollution!

OK, we’d still have air pollution, but less of it. I’d still have to drive my car to the grocery store. You’d still have to run errands, go to the movies, take the kids to karate practice, whatever. But what if all of the people who live on the west side who drive to the east side to go to work every day, and all of the people who live on the east side who drive to the west side to go work every day, and all of the people who live on the far north side who drive downtown every day stayed home?? Think of what traffic is like in the morning during Christmas week when most people stay home from work. If most of us could telecommute to work, just imagine what traffic would be like, how many fewer traffic accidents there would be, how much less wear and tear on the roads and highways, how much lower your car insurance would be, and so on?

(updated 10-19-2013)

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