April 19, 2024

How I try to lead a better life

Yireo Blog Post

For years, I'm been writing technical blogs, but this one is personal: I feel that our world needs more idealism, more examples of how to do good. Here is a reflection on how I try to be a good human. Perhaps it is of use.

The why

The world is changing - you might or might not agree with this: Some say that climate change is actually not a real thing, it is just a temporary glitch or a phase. Right ... Fact is that animals are getting extinct, bees are struggling for life, polar caps are melting, the weather is changing - not far away, but in my own backyard. On top of this, there is war (Palestine/Israel, Ukraine, many other places), addictions (drugs, sugar, mobile phones) are running high (haha: "high"). I slowly come to the realization that my view on the world is quite negative, I tend to see things in a downward spiral.

But there is hope. Instead of complaining, I try to make micro-improvements in my life to try to do something for the greater good. So here is a listing.

Taking care of the world

I eat mostly vegetarian - not because of idealism on my side, but because my wife is vegetarian and she cookes deliciously. I'm fine with not eating meat, food can be very very tasty without: It just requires you to put a little bit more thought to it. Outdoors, I eat some meat so now and then, but if it doesn't happen for weeks or even months, that's fine.

We also keep down on sugar a lot: Our kids usually drink either water, tea or some kind of milk (cows, oat, coconut).

No more plastics

All waste - at home and in the office - is separated: Paper, glass, plastics, organic. I have to thank the municipality for this, they supplied the right bins and provide the garbage collection service. I try to add my own 50 cents by not using plastic bags anymore. Organic waste partially ends up in my two compost bins (and then in the garden), partially in the container that the local authority provides. I bring my own bags to the supermarket. If I can choose between something that is in plastic or something else, I choose something else. Presents are no longer wrapped in gift paper, my children grow up with presents simply appearing unpacked on the table.

We prefer not to use disposable diapers, we use washable diapers instead. It requires more work and our washing machine is running a lot. However, our general waste is low. Disposable diapers are responsible for eight percent of the residual waste - but not because of us.


I never liked sports and I still don't. Balls frighten me. However, I do love walking and cycling. I cycle to office whenever I can (only 4km), I cycle to childrens daycare whenever the weather allows it. The less I can use our car, the better. Whenever I do need the car, I don't struggle too much though: If I need to choose between a 2-hour car ride and a 4-hour train ride, I choose the car.


For vacation, we are aiming to go camping, simply because we really enjoy it. And it is good for the environment. I would love to say that I'm never going to take a flight anymore - but I would be lying. Me and my family love to travel abroad and are reluctant to give all of that up. However, one flight per year is more than enough. I still don't know how this is going to be working out for conferencing: I've been missing out on events since COVID and family life, but maybe one day I want to travel more because of conferences - we'll see, I'm not perfect.

Being more friendly

Even though most people know me as a friendly guy, up for a talk, joking in a peculiar way, I can sometimes be a dick too: Phrasing things a bit harsh because I don't want things to become to sensitive. Perhaps some people see me even as rude. I apologize for that. I realize that sometimes words can be misinterpreted. Perhaps I can be more friendly. I'm already making compliments to strangers and friends, when I meet them in person. Perhaps I can also be a bit more friendly when dealing with people via social media and mails, even though they annoy the hell out of me.

How I try to lead a better business

On top of this, Yireo - being a one-man company - is also something I try to make more organic. For years already, I have been maintaining numerous open source extensions on a volunary basis. At Yireo conferences, there are no more goodie bags - nobody cared about them anyway.

When a room is no longer occupied, lights go off. My tests are run locally and when they are run in the cloud, I try to minimize resources for running them (composer replacements, more memory, smaller Docker images, etc). I'm not using AI that much - if Skynet gains power, it is not because of me.

Do good

I'm not trying to convince anyone here to behave in a specific way. I don't want to put myself on a pedestal either. I simply tried to outline what I'm trying to do to improve the world as I see fit. Hopefully it works out to be inspiring for you.

Posted on April 19, 2024

About the author

Author Jisse Reitsma

Jisse Reitsma is the founder of Yireo, extension developer, developer trainer and 3x Magento Master. His passion is for technology and open source. And he loves talking as well.

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