One way to amplify your community’s efforts in sustainability is to start a green committee at work. I’ve launched several green committees in my corporate career and I’d like to share what worked:
- Just do it. You don’t have to be an expert in all things green to start a committee. A commitment to Earth is the only requirement; start the club today! Put regular meetings on the calendar (weekly, biweekly, monthly, whatever works for your office), and even if it’s just you at those meetings, it provides structured time to focus on researching green opportunities and to plan the next project. This is the most important tip!
- Make the meetings fun! For example, I like to include pictures of animals. People love cute animals.
The reason it’s important to make your meetings fun is that your committee members are volunteering their time to help you achieve progress on your initiative. Yes, the initiative is noble, and everyone has a stake in the environment, but if you’re leading a green team, it is your responsibility to keep team members engaged, and keeping meetings fun is great way to do that.
3. Use resources like:
- Nonprofit related:
- Idealist.org has a ton of volunteer opportunities that you can sort by interest and location to get a sense for what’s nearby and relevant to your interests.
- Find your local Sierra Club chapter to find local events or rallies you can attend and help out with.
- I find it helpful to develop meaningful relationships & partnerships with local nonprofit organizations that you can connect with in person and see the tangible results of your volunteering efforts. It’s helpful to ask your green team if they already help any local nonprofit organizations that you could also support.
- Business focused:
- Patagonia’s The Responsible Company checklist is a set of free downloadable ideas that any company can use to facilitate socially and environmentally conscious progress
- Secure the Call restores donated used cell phones, matches them with chargers and donates them to senior centers & domestic abuse centers. Rather than let your old cell phones go to a landfill and leach harmful chemicals into earth, they will now help someone who needs it. They ship you a bin for free to include at your next green event to help collect old phones.
- Green for All has resources on how to support green jobs growth in your local community.
4. Plan events at your company to engage more team members, garner interest and drum up support for your initiatives. Events generate interest, attention, and are fantastic opportunities to increase your team’s awareness throughout the company and the community. Companies love to showcase their good efforts towards the community on social media and in annual reports. For many of our events we received funding from the company to make it a robust and enjoyable experience (food, drinks, entertainment). Your green events should be marketed beforehand and be educational and fun; then share the good news of the impact afterwards and invite new members to join your next green meeting. People like to be part of fun groups who plan cool events.
5. Share the good news of your efforts. Reference your past successes to preserve & amplify value (& secure future funding!). Send out regular interesting and helpful newsletters about your recent achievements and information that your audience will appreciate/act on. For example this post about green holiday gift ideas was sent out at holiday time and gave colleagues information on how to buy gifts more sustainably. Relatedly Downlite offers products such as eco-friendly pillows, eco-friendly comforters and eco-friendly mattress pads.
There are countless resources available to help you successfully participate in a solution for our current environmental crisis. The most important action is to just commit to the project and set up a regular meeting. The content will evolve as you test and learn what works. On behalf of our planet, thank you for reading this post!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead