Students First • L’élève avant tout Since 1909

Summer Green Guide: Remote Work is Green Work

We are excited to share some positive news about the transportation industry. The topic is the impact of remote working on the pollution produced by transportation:

The Problem
Transportation is a major producer of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. In the US, for instance, transportation accounts for about 29 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In certain cities, the impact of transportation on air pollution is so significant that smog veils the sky itself.

The Change
However, many of these cities recently — those plagued by heavy smog due to pollution — have noticed a considerable improvement in their air quality. Even in Montreal, the quality of the air has increased by a noticeable 10 percent.

The Development of Remote Working
Although the source of this reduction in vehicle usage is, in no way positive, the rapid development of remote working due to the current situation has allowed us to explore the advantages, and disadvantages, of a different way to work and learn. In a global poll, 2,250 workers from an array of countries (US, India, UK, Brazil, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand) were asked if they thought remote work is good for the environment and 77% said yes.

Changes to Come
Not only is remote working sustainable, but many argue that it's better. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was actually once against remote work, stated, “The experience of being remote for some period has been more positive than expected.” According to Jennifer Christie, head of human resources at Twitter, “We won’t go back.” In light of this, the real question to ask is whether everyone really will rush back into their cars as soon as the pandemic ends. Is the prospect of spending hours in traffic really that exciting? Given that Twitter, Facebook, and others have announced that they will encourage their employees to work from home even after their offices reopen, we think not. The decrease in individuals commuting to and from work on a daily basis will surely make a difference. It may not save the world, but the air will undoubtedly be cleaner. 

All in all, recent events may very well have forever impacted our lives, to the point that our idea of working and learning may change dramatically. Only time will truly tell just how much better operating from home really is. One thing for sure is that it will surely engender a decline in car usage. 

CBS News
BBC News
Montreal Gazette
New York Post
Green Child Magazine
The Verge