A good friend of mine works for GAIA / No Burn, an organisation that makes the case for alternatives to incinerating waste. The problem is that for his work my friend there has to fly all over this place – this year already to California and The Philippines – all for the sake of promotion of something green. Contradiction, no? Not as far as he is concerned – all he would have to do would be to convince a single local authority somewhere to not build an incinerator and bingo, he wins, all the CO2 from his flights for the whole of his life have been more than offset. In short the wrong – CO2 from flying – has been relativised.
So could I apply the same to ethical questions, and particularly how I spend my days and weeks?
Essentially the problem is as follows: I’m so busy doing website projects for causes and campaigns I believe in that I’m too busy all the time. All the things I do pay a pittance, but I have to keep on doing all of them just to get the bills paid at the end of the month. In addition I don’t spend enough time on each project and the quality suffers and, importantly, I don’t have time for any really interesting and ethical stuff that might come along (equivalents of the Atheist Bus Campaign) because I am just trying to complete all the small things that pay a bit.
So could I possibly do some ethical offsetting? Essentially contract to some large firms for a couple of days a week and, as a result, give myself financial security to then do really ethical projects pro bono for the rest of the week? OK, there are limits – I am not going to work for tobacco or arms firms for example – but could it work as a concept? If of course anyone would ever employ me to do web strategy for companies anyway…