INSPIRING ACTION To start integrating sustainability efforts, join forces. Many organizations have a task force overseeing and implementing reduce/reuse/recycle strategies. Team up to share ideas, expand reach, and amplify efforts with consistent messaging. If there isn’t a green team — which may be housed under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, launch one.
Reaching the Hard to Reach
Concerned about reactions from people who don’t understand or believe the facts? A report by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University states the most effective approach is to frame sustainable living messages in terms of personal benefits like having clean air and water, being healthier, and saving money. Learn more: connectingonclimate.org.
Meanwhile, here’s a way to press the easy button and start influencing change: Add trackable sustainability activities to your next well-being challenge; come up with your own to match workforce needs and interests. Before long, participants will expect to see earth-friendly activities alongside step tracking and medita¬tion as habits equally vital to well-being.
A few examples:
• Slash use of plastics/disposables. People can pack their own bamboo, metal, or other reusable utensils, dishes, and straws. Reusable grocery bags, cloth napkins, and washable paper towel alternatives eliminate a lot of household waste. And food storage is a cinch with glass containers, silicone bags, and wax-coated cloth wraps.
• Shrink your carbon footprint. Share a tool like the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator (epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator); challenge participants and their families to make everyday choices that reduce carbon output.
• Get outside and play. When people spend time enjoying nature — from hiking in a national park to fishing and camping with their families — they’re more likely to have a heart for protecting it. Time in natural surroundings also offers unique physical and mental health benefits. Learn more in The Nature Fix by Florence Williams and A Healthy Dose of Nature Is Good for Business — Promoting Green Exercise for Employee Well-Being (hesonline.com/white-papers).
• Use alternative transportation. Distribute bike commuting details and discounted or free passes to make public transit benefits evident and linked to your wellness program.
“When people spend time enjoying nature — from hiking in a national park to fishing and camping with their families — they’re more likely to have a heart for protecting it.”
• Act on Climate Change Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: climatecommunication.yale.edu/news-events/act-on-climate-change
• Tips to Use Less Plastic Green Education Foundation greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html
• Top 20 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint GlobalStewards.org globalstewards.org/reduce-carbon-footprint.htm