Way back in 1999, I was living in western Colorado and served as the Pollution Prevention Coordinator for that entire region. This meant a lot of driving from county to county, working with local governments to reduce their waste and polluting practices. Ironic now that I think about it.

Back then I was only thinking of the time it took me away from my family and all the exhausting mountain driving. Having lived in many rural communities, it seemed I was always the one driving to larger cities for meetings or training’s, such as the 250 mile trek to Denver or Salt Lake City. Rarely did it go the opposite way. If you live in a rural community you know what I am talking about.

Now, beyond the budget of time, I look at most everything related to travel from the viewpoint of my carbon footprint. But that job and all the travel gave me the vision of going to graduate school to hone my skills to reach the masses without traveling. Remember, this was 20 years ago.

Early adopters and governments had the technology to do two way video, but it seemed the systems hung on the walls of meeting rooms gathering dust. If they had been comfortable using the equipment, I could have held the meetings from the comfort of my office conference room.

A few months later I was accepted into graduate school at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. It was to focus on adult education, and ended up focusing on distance education. What better place to gain experience and skill than to teach the teachers out in the bush of Alaska?

I did that for about 8 years, and after 12 we came back down to the “lower 48.” Things changed but not that much. People still traveled to meetings.


Granted, it is nice to be in the same room sometimes, but why not make that an exception. When doing business, planning an event, or teaching a new concept, using video conferencing works great, if not better. I don’t need to drive anyplace. When the call is over I can jump right into the work. No more buying lunches or overpriced coffee. This is especially true when air travel is included.

  • Smaller carbon footprint.
  • Easier on the budget.
  • Saves a ton of productive time.

I think it is a habit most of the time. And perhaps a bit of procrastination or boredom when you make the call – “Let’s meet for coffee.”

Is that really necessary? For me, only when I want to socialize. Discussions about work can be done by phone or video conference. If I meet you at the coffee shop, I loose half my day and productivity.

Something else I have been trying to do is stay out of coffee shops. I ask if they want to take a walk along the river or trail – a “Walk and Talk”.

Walking allows you to clear your mind and connect to the world’s energy – not get it from a cup of caffeine. If possible, there is a picnic table or bench if we need to jot down some notes.

I challenge you to find a place to have your own Walk and Talk. It works best with one or two people. Save the larger gatherings for the video chat room.

Let us know how it works! I love to hear creative ways you are reducing your carbon footprint.

Sandi Sturm

Sandi Sturm


I am an author, teacher, and Climate Reality Leader who enjoys being outside as much as possible exploring our natural landscapes. My current focus in on our website, https://EarthFocusGroup.com with a mission: “We see a world of people who understand our changing climate and that individual actions affect everyone on earth.”

This mission is currently satisfied by these programs:

  • Https://EnvironmentalGroups.US with the mission: “To build capacity around environmental groups in the U.S. so we can educate more people about climate change and empower them to participate in solutions.”
  • Earth Prints for Families community to bring together like-minded people who want to reduce their carbon footprint 50% by 2030.
  • Book, “Family Survival Guide for Our Changing Climate : 52 Empowering Actions You and Your Family Can Take Now!”

My husband, Wayne, and I live full time in our RV, where we enjoy visiting as many National Parks as we can.