This post is a follow up to the post I shared a few months ago about some of the changes I’ve been making in order to cut my carbon footprint, you can read it here. I want to show that, yes, a digital nomad can be a climate activist, an no, we’re not all hypocrites.
Also, this post is going to be a bit rough around the edges as I’m writing this the evening of the 6th October 2019, before heading down to London in the morning (by train 😉 to join the International Rebellion by the global climate justice movement, Extinction Rebellion. And I still need to pack → see classic nomad problems. ?♀️
This morning I woke up super excited, super nervous and also a little scared, I’m not gonna lie.
Am I a hypocrite?
See, for the past 6 years (nearly to the day) I’ve been travelling around the world with my boyfriend, first as backpackers, then as working-holiday-ers and for the past 4+ years as digital nomads. So I’m not going to beat around the bush: my carbon footprint has been huge. Those planes burn a lot of fossil fuels. ✈️
And don’t get me wrong, since waking up to this reality, I’ve felt both guilty and like a hypocrite. Because I’ve always seen myself as a bit of an environmentalist, not only because I used to volunteer for Greenpeace.
But you don’t have to worry, this post is not about guilt-tripping any of my fellow digital nomads into changing your ways, stopping to fly or giving up this lifestyle. Not at all. We’ve all worked hard to create a life we love and we should be proud of that. ?
But I do want to talk about the responsibility I’ve personally been feeling to take a closer look at my lifestyle, how it has evolved over the past 6 years and whether it’ll be sustainable (both environmentally, physically and mentally) to keep it up this way. And what exciting ways there are to adjust it (this is for a future blog post).
You see, I love travelling. I still do and I probably always will. It’s one of the greatest pleasures and privileges of my life to be able to travel and see this amazing planet. ?
And that’s also why I feel so strongly that I need to play a role in trying to save it. There’s simply too much at risk not to step up now.
We only have around 8.5 years of carbon budget to burn as a society, after that we’re heading straight for at least a 2°C warming (and that’s a conservative estimate) at which point feedback loops and tipping points will kick off leading to runaway climate change which we won’t be able to stop anymore.
Now, my natural digital nomad approach to a problem of this scale would usually be to book a plane ticket for as far away as possible. I’m not kidding. It would be much easier and much more fun to simply run away and try to ignore this.
But once you see the scale of the crisis, it’s impossible to unsee. So here I am.
In Wiltshire, UK. At my in-laws home packing up to spend the next week in London, joining the International Rebellion through non-violent direct action.
The perks of being a nomad
And after the rollercoaster of emotions had worn off a little bit, I realised how grateful I am that I created a business and lifestyle that allows me to spend a week away from my laptop (almost a whole week, we’ll be running a live event from the Rebellion together with my brilliant friend Sophia Cheng, read her Titanic-themed blog post about becoming an activist here) and join this movement.
And it’s my digital nomad lifestyle that allowed me to do this. So yes, a digital nomad can be a climate activist. ??✊
So if any fellow digital nomads are reading this who wondered if you can take part in any of the actions, marches, and protests happening around the world or whether you are hypocrites, I want to let you know that we’re no more hypocrites than everyone else living in this broken system. Yes, individual action matters, a LOT. But without the systemic change needed, it won’t be enough. So let’s start there as time is running out. (watch my friend Sophia’s Stand Up for the Planet comedy routine, she touches upon this topic in a hilarious way ?).
As the saying goes, we don’t need 1 climate activist doing everything perfectly, we need millions of climate activists doing things imperfectly.
So wherever you are in the world, get involved. Give a talk at a coworking space. Join a protest. Volunteer to admin a local Facebook Group for XR or any other movement. I believe there’s a role for each of us and yes, a digital nomad can be a climate activist.
There are so many things we can do together imperfectly. Now’s the time.
I will write again after my time in London to keep you posted about what’s going on.
Love and rage,