Since the state of alarm started, we have been experiencing the lockdown of our cities and the confinement. Some people are completely overwhelmed by the situation and others are surprisingly radiating positivity.
We cannot go meet friends anymore, sit at a terrace to have a coffee and chill. We cannot travel, book a plane ticket to visit new Europeans cities during the weekend. We stay home, work from home and try to find some sense in all this.
This crisis is the perfect opportunity to think and question our current way of living. Our environment is changing, nature is sending a message, after the fire in Australia, repetitive cyclones and hurricanes in some regions of the world, now the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to change our habits and start being more sustainable in the way we consume, travel and work.
Here are some things on what you should start building your new mindset:
There are many small producers that are struggling to get to the consumers to sell their products. The small farmer that produces fresh eggs 40 km away, the other one, growing fresh vegetables outside the city that are basically drowned by the global food industry. Know what you eat, be healthier, buy on a fair trade basis and be sure to get transparency and quality.
You should definitely check the Colmena Que Dice Si system, a great network working as an intermediary between you and local producers. They are present in 7 countries in Europe, including Spain, France, Italy, with more than 1300 independent Colmenas. Their motto: eat better, local and fair. You can order everything you want on their website and go to pick it up every week to the closest colmena from your house, you also have a home delivery option. If you have a big office or if you work from a coworking space, why not become a Mini Colmena to receive the order there for you and your coworkers.
If you are interested in sustainable agriculture and development, I strongly recommend you to read this article about JM Fortier to get to know this Canadian farmer and his great project and philosophy!
Recycling. If you are not doing it yet, well, shame on you! But it is never too late to become an exemplary citizen. Being more sustainable is possible by changing small things in your habits and making just an extra effort not to go for the most convenient and easy to get all the time.
You can reduce your plastic use by choosing more carefully the products you buy in the grocery stores. Avoid plastic bags, use reusable shopping bags (also for your fruits and vegetables).
We know that the meat industry is a big contaminant. You don’t need to eat meat every day, you can eat it once or twice a week, but buy a better product, organic and local.
Stop fast fashion. Be aware of your impact. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) affirmed that the fashion industry produces about 10% of the global CO2 and uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water every year, without mentioning its impact on the rising pollution due to the use of chemicals and the spread of microplastics.
In Barcelona, you can find many zero waste boutiques, where you can buy products with zero plastic packaging. At La Vaca we are frequently buying at Monmas in Sant Antoni, where you can find dry fruits in bulk, natural cleaning products, organic cosmetics, etc.
This whole situation has proven that remote work can be challenging. The market is evolving and remote work has become a real possibility, except that many companies were still scared to allow their employees to work remotely. Perhaps, this was because they felt making remote working a success would be too difficult for them. However, after the end of the confinement, the situation will change. First, because the new security distance rules will be applied in all shops and offices, meaning that they won’t be able to host the totality of their workforce at the same time in their facilities. Check out our article Coworking as a sustainable future.
Secondly, remote work has many benefits if organized properly. Reduction of transportation time, travelling costs, more flexibility, enlarge the companies applicant circle, more autonomy and less stress for their employees that in the end leads to an increase of their productivity.
If home-office working becomes your new routine, you might want to think about finding a good place where you can focus and be productive. For some this might mean setting up a dedicated working space and personalising it with plants, gadgets and adequate lighting. This can help lift your mood and increase productivity. Though if making such a space at home isn’t possible, then you may want to consider a coworking space. These spaces are close to your house, with a good community to connect with, as well as a host to activities to enlarge your network with. A coworking will allow you to separate your private life and professional life to find a good balance. Start your research online now!
We humans need social connections. Technologies allow us to reach people anywhere in the world. But now you should focus on positive connections only, with people that will make you grow and learn all along your life professionally and personally. Get out of your comfort zone, get to know new people every time you have the opportunity. You should work on your self-sensitivity, being able to feel when things are right or not and act responsibly according to it using soft skills. Develop empathy, listen, observe and ask questions, show interest in people.
Take care of people you love. Time is not the issue, your priorities are. Friends, family, those connections are the ones that make you who you are and will always help go forward in your life.
As a digital nomad working from every corner of the world or a simple tourist travelling to discover new landscapes, it is important to understand that you have an impact on local economies and the environment. We all want to enjoy our holidays, to disconnect and take amazing pictures all around the world, but this shouldn’t mean having fun at the detriment of local communities, or participating in the destruction of natural sites and polluting.
Have you heard of Ecotourism? Don’t be scared, it is a big word for something that should actually be the normality of travels. Ecotourism is defined by the International Society of Ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local communities, and involves interpretation and education. You can find “eco places” entirely dedicated to ecology, tourism and to create awareness. But you can also act responsibly as a person by choosing.
The confinement should be a time of self-reflection. We all started new activities, handcraft, learning and I hope you won’t stop when the restrictions come to an end. Care more about people around you and your impact on the ecosystem (social and natural). We should not take everything for granted anymore and enjoy some simple pleasures like having a coffee with a friend or celebrating your birthday with your family. Be a better version of yourself.