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28. september 2022 · 2 minute

How to Become a Sustainable Digital Nomad

Like many 21st century advancements, digital nomadism has been a unique new way of living your life which, however, is not always the most sustainable practice both ecologically and socially. So how do you make sure you practice nomadism more ethically? Here are some tips on how to be a location-independent worker sustainably.

Reducing your carbon footprint

On a personal level, one of the most direct ways of being more ecologically friendly is to lower your carbon footprint. This can be done in a number of ways. You can try taking the train instead of flying even if that makes your travel time much longer. You can reuse and reduce what you use in your day-to-day life. And you should always be on the lookout for ecologically-minded accommodation. Additionally, make sure to use local public transport or rent bikes instead of renting cars.

But you should keep in mind that there is only so much you can really do as an individual. Climate change is a structural issue that won’t significantly improve when a backpacker traveling the world with a laptop buys a bamboo toothbrush. On top of that, your carbon footprint is probably already lower than that of most people since your personal possessions are much smaller. But doing these personal changes helps you keep your eye on the bigger picture in your day-to-day life.

Local communities

A more impactful sustainable practice is involving yourself with the local community. This can take the form of volunteering for good causes like helping the homeless or sick by cooking, organizing, or otherwise helping the overall cause. Make sure you do what local organizations need rather than doing something on your own—people who have lived in your destination their whole lives will know best what needs tackling (though feedback and sharing of opinions are always good).

Another way you can directly help out a community is financial. Make sure you shop in local stores that source their products from within the country. Give money to good causes, and see if some of your finances couldn’t go to local artists. Sometimes the best way to help is by providing the means for people to help themselves.

Political involvement

In terms of the most impact that an individual can have on a country, involving yourself politically in activism or helping a political party is the most direct way and gives the most reward for the time spent. And if you care about social and ecological sustainability, there are always activist and political groups you can join.

Don’t worry too much about the language barrier. Many local organizations need decent English speakers for proofreading, your know-how from other cultures can be an asset on its own, and the resulting cultural exchange can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Working together with local political groups towards a more sustainable world is a great way of making a difference in the world while making friends and learning more about your destination.

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