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? Ecochallenge.org.
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