I spent Saturday at the Green Alliance Sustainability Fair in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Cool Choices had an exhibit and we did a workshop; we were talking about the free county-wide Cool Choices program we are launching in the Waukesha County later this fall.
The fair occurred in a clearing at a state park, which meant we were talking about environmental sustainability just a few yards from hiking trails on a crisp and sunny Wisconsin day. Perhaps as a result, I did not encounter anyone at this event who opposed protecting Wisconsin’s amazing natural resources for future generations. Opinions did vary, though, on what needed to happen and how.
In September I’ll present at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Atlanta. I’ll present on Engaging Employees to Maximize Savings: A Cool Approach as part of a session titled How to Stop Misbehaving to Save Energy and Money. The session title suggests that the priority is to stop bad behavior; here at Cool Choices, though, we focus on identifying, amplifying and multiplying good behavior.
It’s really about the frame.
Cool Choices alumni are always inspiring us with how they continue to take sustainable actions after participating in our online sustainability program. This month we were impressed by the awesome recycling practices Tara started at work and at home.
We get a lot of questions from sustainability leads and green teams about strategies for increasing employee participation rates. Sometimes people are curious about participation rates elsewhere, wondering if their struggles are typical or not. In other cases, the tenor of questions is more cynical—green team members tell me that their situation is unique, that people in the organization “just don’t care.”
Hundreds of cities, counties, and even states made (or renewed) a public commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some local governments made this commitment in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Others re-affirmed an existing commitment. For more than a decade, cities – both large and small – have recognized the economic advantages associated with sustainability, and have set aggressive goals. At the same time, sustainability advocates have long argued that cities – with zoning authority and direct accountability to a local population – are best poised to lead on sustainability. From recycling policies, to planning decisions that make it easier to bike to work, cities are where change is happening.
Last week Cool Choices completed its 2017 application for the Green Masters program, an initiative of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council (WSBC) – a Cool Choices partner. Green Masters is a recognition and assessment program for Wisconsin businesses interested in improving their sustainability initiatives, and offers businesses an opportunity to benchmark their efforts.
When you think about changing a habit in your life, whether the habit is related to physical health, sustainability, or even your on-line habits, there are two paths you might take regarding the change: making it very visible or largely invisible. Here’s the difference:
Cool Choices was proud to present at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Austin, Texas in June, where we were selected as a 2017 Smart Cities Showcase participant. Our booth engaged with dozens of city thought leaders looking for new ways to connect community and innovation via sustainability, technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT.) The conference offered several keynotes focused on how new technology connects with sustainability effort to benefit whole communities.
Past participants of our Cool Choices sustainability programs for businesses, organizations and communities, continue to make green choices in their everyday lives – even after the program ends. We are always impressed to learn how participating in Cool Choices impacts individuals and their decisions to take further sustainable actions. This month we were inspired by Emily’s story. Plus, we give helpful tips on how to start your own garden using pollinating-friendly, native plants.
From the beginning, our mission at Cool Choices has been to inspire individuals, businesses, and whole communities to adopt sustainable practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We aim to accomplish our mission by changing behaviors. Sound easy, right? Maybe not. We also aim to make sustainable behavior change fun and social. Here’s how.