Remote working is changing the way we look at our work lives, what’s more, it has benefits for the environment.
Organisations like Greenpeace agree that remote working is one of the most ecological and economical ways of working. It has a positive impact on the environment by reducing commuting, occupying less urban land, and changing consumption habits.
Green mobility on the islands
Remote workers produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their peers who commute to the office and other work centres, hence the positive effect on the environment. Something as simple as driving to the office, which many people never consider, has a harmful impact on the environment. The transport sector produces more CO2 emissions than any other, and the main culprit responsible for poor air quality.
The shift in mobility patterns is the key to a green transformation. The Canary Islands are the perfect spot for adopting greener ways of getting about such as walking and cycling. The balmy climate and mild temperatures in the Canary Islands are ideal for these healthy habits. What’s more, for long distances, the high-quality public transport system means there is no need for a car to get about on the islands.
Beyond the cities
Traditionally, big cities were the only place to go to find job opportunities, with thousands of people commuting in and out, causing demographic and environmental pressure.
Remote workers can set up anywhere in the world and take advantage of what has become a real, viable way to work. It’s an opportunity to spend time in locations previously thought of as holiday destinations or remoter spots doomed to depopulation, such as rural areas.
The shift means that cities like Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, as well as smaller destinations like Icod de los Vinos in Tenerife and Antigua in Fuerteventura, are all welcoming remote workers. This is socially and economically beneficial for both locals and remote workers in search of peace and quiet, who relish the opportunity to discover local customs and enjoy contact with nature.
One example of this trend is Pueblos Remotos, an initiative to reactivate rural areas and have a socio-economic impact on the local community by attracting remote workers and encouraging sustainable tourism. The plan sets out to establish rural towns as well-connected, innovative places.
It is a new opportunity for places whose geographical location makes it difficult to access certain types of jobs. They are also a sustainable alternative for workers who decide to leave the big cities now they no longer need to be physically present in offices or workplaces.
Live the way you feel
Digitalisation and the ability to work remotely have led us to adopt more sustainable habits, reducing paper consumption and air conditioning. For others it has meant a decisive step towards a greener lifestyle, establishing their residence - albeit temporary - in places where workers can reduce the impact of their environmental footprint.
In the Canary Islands it is easy to live and work harmony with the environment, for example by shopping at farmers' markets, buying local products directly from producers, participating in circular economy and sustainable mobility initiatives. Electric bike and scooter rental businesses have sprung up throughout the islands and in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria alone there are already 33 kilometres of bike lanes.
The sustainable growth model of the Canary Islands includes a decided commitment to the implementation of renewable energies, in an area with plenty of sunshine, wind, waves and heat from the earth. The most advanced case is that of El Hierro, the first island become energy self-sufficient, and a global benchmark.
A UNESCO “Biosphere Reserve and Geopark”, the island of El Hierro houses the Gorona del Viento wind-pumped hydro power station, which supplies the island with energy generated with clean, renewable sources. The mission is to make El Hierro 100% renewable.
The existence of remote working means opens the door to another way of working focused on sustainability and respect and care for the environment, helping to create clean environments. The Canary Islands are among of the most ecologically rich places on the planet and we should all be aware of the importance of caring for their ecosystems. Workers who choose the islands as a remote working location must do so with the importance of sustainable behaviour and respect for the environment in mind.