Distance is a bit of an issue in Australia and every year we shoot a number of drought-related features that require us to drive 8, 10 or even 12 hours inland. Out there is where it’s really dry, where some farms haven’t seen rain for five years.
 
Climate change is a big issue in our patch of the planet, which covers Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, and some South Pacific nations that are at risk of vanishing because of rising sea levels. Droughts are getting longer and the cyclones that form in the Indian and Pacific Oceans each year keep getting bigger. Reporting on these subjects makes us ever more aware of the damaging effects humans can have on the environment.

DRY 1
 
So we got to thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to convert our workplace to a warm, fuzzy, green operation and help save the globe? If only we had the money for that…
 
Well, it’s 2008 and things have changed. Reuters Pictures Down Under has charged head first into the Green Era, working hard to save the planet and harder to save money!
 
Of course, we did all the usual things like using less paper, not printing emails unless absolutely necessary and increasing our reliance on digital communication because it means less paper, less ink and less time. The office has also removed nearly all rubbish bins, replacing them with a range of recycling boxes for paper, plastic and so on. Reuters also removed the need for bottled water (which accounts for thousands of tons of plastic and greenhouse gases from transportation, production, etc) by installing chilled water filter outlets in the kitchen.

Hybrid
 
However, our biggest change so far has been road transport. In November one of our car leases came due. We dumped our 6 cylinder gas guzzler for a neat hybrid, which by the way has more cargo space than the previous road warrior. It’s pretty zippy, feels like driving a spaceship and since we took delivery in mid November have used a little over 6 tanks of fuel…
 
It’s warm, it’s fuzzy, but it also makes economic sense. Our annual lease is A$1,000/year less than the larger car and our fuel saving is expected to be around A$1,600/year. Oh, and as a sweetener, pretty much the whole of the first year’s fuel is covered by the manufacturer’s gift of $1000 of worth of free petrol. We have two pix cars in Sydney so as the price of fuel keeps heading up we expect to be saving about A$5,500 a year on cars alone. Think of the extra feature jobs you can do with a saving like that!
 
Get out there. Go Green. Save dough and save the planet!