According to Google Trends, searches related to Zoom Video Communications grew by about one hundred times in the month of March. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in a surge of new video calls, with the platform, Zoom, leading the herd of video communications companies. A bit off-topic, but what happened to Skype? Anyway, is Zoom good for the environment? The video calling revolution is upon us and it will have an everlasting effect on our economy and the planet.
Most importantly, Zoom calls replace the need for students to go to school and for employees to commute. A commute usually requires a lot of carbon dioxide to be emitted into the atmosphere. If video calls become the new normal, a long car ride will be replaced by opening a laptop and socializing with coworkers or peers.
In addition, fewer commercial buildings will need to exist in order to support the population and growing economy. The decrease in commercial real estate development translates to a need for fewer resources to be removed from the planet.
If the future of work is at home, there are setbacks too. After reading BBC’s article on the environmental negatives of working from home, I learned that working from home wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Heating and cooling multiple places causes a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Even though the demand for heating commercial buildings would decline, it probably couldn’t make up for almost every American household heating and cooling their own homes.
A remote economy seems far out, but like flying cars, it could eventually happen. Okay, flying cars won’t happen. The environmental benefits of not having to commute or use commercial office space would outweigh the issue of heating and cooling individual households. Do you think we will arrive at this point in the future?
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