Start your Ecochallenge team for April now

You and all your co-workers are all working at kitchen tables and in spare bedrooms; we haven’t been face-to-face for more than a year. We’re all ordering lots of takeout food in plastic clamshells and feeling guilty about the plastic overflowing trash can at the curb. We’re feeling disconnected from our coworkers and our communities.

Sound familiar?  It certainly does to me.

I’m on our organization’s “Culture Club”, which, in the “before times” would organize environmental volunteer days, conservation projects for the office, and other activities that built our office camaraderie while taking care of the earth. Pretty tough when nobody’s IN the office these days.

This year, we’re trying to build community among our all-remote team of 25 folks who live and work in six states. One of the tools we’re using?

As a nonprofit focused on the climate, we are excited to put our collective desire to change our habits into the April Earth Month Ecochallenge (April 1-30, 2021.) This is a great opportunity to do our part to help the world reach “drawdown” by taking action on Project Drawdown’s 100 most substantive solutions to climate change.

There’s no silver bullet answer to fixing the climate, which EcoChallenge recognizes. They give us a great menu of actions we can take across the spectrum of electricity, food, land use, transportation, buildings, health and education, and some new categories this year: coastal, ocean and engineered “sinks” for carbon and land sinks.

Each Ecochallenger chooses the actions that best fit their lifestyle and personal goals, while working as a team with their colleagues to create a better shared world. Team captains also have the option to choose existing actions or create new ones to help their participants and organizations meet their sustainability engagement goals. Some actions can be daily to make a new habit (go for a bike ride instead of a car trip); others might be bigger one-time actions (replace your aging, inefficient water heater with an efficient heat pump water heater). Employees who act on their “resolutions” and track their progress can win some choice prizes for joining in, and maybe develop a few new environmental habits that will last a lifetime. Your company can even tag a different branch or even a competitor organization for a little friendly challenge.

Sign up your office to launch your own EcoChallenge team – it’s free, and a great way to keep people connected, even if we can’t quite yet connect in person. 

by Meghan Humphreys, New Buildings Institute

Earth Month 2017 Highlights

Earth Month 2017 with the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative brought different companies’ staffers together to learn, to volunteer, to have fun and make connections with each other.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Our forum on Equity and the Environment packed the room at Northwest Health Foundation, and brought business, nonprofit, and government leaders together to learn how to elevate equity in the business and sustainability realms.  Check out panel moderator Sam Baraso’s superb list of resources from that event.ross island 1

Staff members from companies including NW Natural, Airbnb, EarthShare Oregon, Keen Footwear, and others joined Willamette Riverkeeper on a canoe and volunteer trip to Ross Island.  This land, which is owned and managed by the City of Portland, needs volunteers to help remove invasive plants and nurture native vegetation on the island.   The day turned out wonderfully, with the sun even peeking out from behind clouds on occasion.

OHSU tour

A week after our volunteer project, a group visited OHSU’s Collaborative Life Sciences Building for a tour of the building led by the property manager.  The inquisitive attendees got all the details on the certified-LEED-Platinum building’s energy efficiency measures and cutting-edge medical research and learning facilities.

bike ride 2We didn’t just learn and volunteer, we closed out the month with a little fun!  Portland’s bike share system, BIKETOWN, generously offered free day passes to anyone who joined our Bike To Brews low-carbon happy hour.  The group happily pedaled to share a pint at Rogue Eastside Pub and Pilot Brewery in southeast Portland, even with the threatening skies.

It’s only 11 more months to the NEXT Earth Month — if you would like your company to join sustainability events like this next year, sign up for a free membership in the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative!

Thanks to our event and prize sponsors for Earth Month:

logo collage



Resources: Equity and the Environment Panel

A full house of business, government, and nonprofit folks attended April 6th’s panel discussion on Equity and The Environment. Sam Baraso from Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability led the discussion, engaaging panelists Ricardo Moreno, Landscape Program Manager at Verde, and Tim Miller, CEO of Enhabit.

Here are useful resources mentioned in, or related to, the discussion:


Center for Diversity & the Environment‘s Resources page

Local organizations doing equity and environmental work (not an exhaustive list!)

Thanks also to the companies who sponsored our space, prize drawing, food, and beverages for this event:  Northwest Health Foundation, Pacific Continental Bank, NW Natural, Pacific Rim and Company Wine, Widmer Brothers Brewing, and the Portland Trail Blazers.