5 years is a great amount of time to look at your life. It’s not too far in the distance, but far enough for larger things to be achieved. I've been revisiting my plan for where I would like to be in 5 years' time, both on a business and personal level, and knew I had to make protecting the environment a real priority.
We have, for the best part of modern history, lived in a system that looks for infinite growth - but we exist on a finite planet. We are now seeing the serious implications of our actions, and cannot continue down this path. We only have one earth, we must protect it.
We all have a responsibility to change our habits around the way we consume things, and to force more universal change through political and marketplace pressure to avoid environmental disaster.
As a photographer, I am aware that I cover a lot of travel miles, burn up a lot of electricity with all the editing and charging of equipment, and must take appropriate steps to reduce my carbon footprint, and ultimately become carbon neutral. So here are some of the actions I will strive to take in the next 5 years, with the ultimate aim of making myself carbon-neutral, and a sustainable wedding photographer. Planting Trees For every couple that books one of my full-day wedding packages, I donate money to the Woodland Trust to plant two trees in the "Northern Forest". The North of England is home to 13 million people. However, this beautiful part of the country has just 7.6% of woodland cover, which is significantly lower than the England average.
All my contracts, invoices, other business documents are all done online. I do not own a printer, so there is no temptation to print things I really don't need to. My images are delivered via an online gallery, as I found most of my couples favoured this over a USB stick. I have just ordered a Rocketbook reusable notepad, which you just wipe clean once you have used it - meaning gone are the days of going through paper notepads. Rock on! Although not part of my packages as standard, albums and prints are available should couples want them. Both my print suppliers (Loxley Colour) and Album suppliers (Folio) are UK based which reduces the transport distances involved in the delivery and therefore CO2 emissions created. Loxley Colour are part of the Carbon Capture Scheme (they donate to the Woodland Trust that plants trees much like myself), and all products used in printing are FSC approved.
Buying an Electric Car (eventually)
Photographers can cover a lot of miles, and it isn't really possible for us to use and rely on public transport, which likely accounts for my biggest carbon output.
My current car lease deal is up in early 2022, and ideally, I'd like to upgrade to an electric or hybrid model - however, like many of my generation, I have not managed to get on the housing ladder yet, which makes an electric vehicle somewhat unfeasible for now. Although a hybrid model may be an option.
But, as homeownership features in my 5 year plan, so does an electric car. I will make the switch as soon as it is possible and practical.
Solar Panels Whilst we're on the topic of homeownership, I will when the time comes also be looking at solar panels, with the aim of being able to operate off the grid and generate the electricity I use through solar panels.
Video Calls for Client Meetings If there is one thing that 2020 really gave us, was a wider acceptance of Zoom calls (other video chat providers are available) as a staple of the way we communicate - especially in a business setting. I aim to continue to use video calls for client meetings to keep the amount of miles and CO2 I'm burning as low as I can. Make Ecosia my chosen search engine
Ecosia is an exciting new search engine that donates 80% of its ad profits to eco-friendly charities. They claim that on average for every 45 searches they will plant a tree
Rechargeable Batteries A lot of photography equipment is powered by batteries. All the batteries I use are rechargeable.
What are you doing to be sustainable and more ecofriendly? I'd love to hear any tips and bits of advice. And if you are having a sustainable wedding, check out the recent shoot I did at Ilkley Manor House