Our Cool Choices community-scale Waukesha County sustainability program recently ended, which means we’ve been reading through end-of-program participant comments submitted after we asked for them to reflect on how the Cool Choices program has influenced them.
Some of the responses we received were exactly what you’d expect – a new appreciation for energy-saving ideas people can use, coupled with assertions that their households were already on the right track.
Below are our top ten favorite responses from these participants:
- “Made me realize how much money I’m wasting”
- “Without Cool Choices, I wouldn’t have known about the free energy-efficient products that I could order from Focus on Energy. My package arrived yesterday and I love the energy saving power strip and free bulbs.”
- “Provided some information but more validated most of what I already do.”
- “We saved money on our energy bill!”
- “Cool Choices has prompted me to look at what appliances, etc. are using energy everyday throughout my home. It has been eye-opening to see how much energy is being wasted on a daily basis.”
- “Although I am already sustainably minded, in our busy world it is easy to forget the little things that matter. Cool Choices allowed me to stop and think about everything that I do everyday. It is a fun way to be reminded about our daily habits that have a global impact.”
- “I removed extra weight from my vehicle and my son started walking to school in the morning!”
- “We’ve been consolidating laundry loads, turning off lights, programmed the thermostat to conserve fuel, combined errands, and made conscious decisions to choose local products when possible.”
- “While we have always been a “composting, environmentally conscious family,” Cool Choices has shown us there a LOT of ways, big and small, to have a positive impact. We need to develop good daily habits for the long haul!”
- “This is my 3rd time playing this game and there are usually several cards each time that I rethink my habits and choices.”
However, even more encouraging are the indications we received that that our Waukesha County sustainability program got people talking about sustainability:
- “The biggest impact was in sharing conversations with family and friends about various Cool Choices activities.”
- “I’ve picked up so many great tips & I’m sharing them with family & friends.”
- “My coworkers and I now say “Cool Choice!” to remind each other to turn off the lights, stop idling, print double sided, etc.”
- “We found the Focus on Energy pack option, signed up & shared this information with our extended family! Thank you!”
Learning something new about how to be more sustainable and energy efficiency focused is one thing, but sharing that learning with others is a much bigger deal. It not only reinforces the learning in the participant’s brain, but it also affects how that participant thinks about themselves relative to sustainability. For example, when I share tips about saving energy with friends, it implies I’m someone who cares about saving energy. And if I’m someone who cares about saving energy, then I need to keep doing things to save energy. This is the virtuous circle we talk about.
It’s also great to hear that the Waukesha County sustainability program participants report deeper changes in how they think about their daily actions:
- “In all of my activities, I think about something I learned on Cool Choices. When I am in the car I think about making sure I turn the car off and do not idle. I think about intentionally driving the speed limit. I check my light bulbs to make sure they are efficient. I unplug items that we are not using. These are just a few ways it has impacted me.”
- “I’m more aware that my choices impact energy conservation beyond just my own household (i.e. conserving water impacts the whole city as it lessens the demand on the infrastructure as a whole).”
- “My family is actively asking questions about how choices they are going to make are affecting the environment.”
- “Since playing cool choices, I have been more aware of my personal impact on the world around me.”
Naturally, we also appreciate hearing how our engaging sustainability program in Waukesha County was effective:
- “This app worked! I actually did change some patterns in my life”
- “The entire family is aware of waste now – from saving water to packaging to recycling, we are making better choices.”
But we also know that change is hard and that every journey is different. So I appreciate the participants who acknowledge the challenges:
- “My husband keeps asking ‘who unplugged that?’”
If you want to learn more about how a Cool Choices engagement program can inspire sustainable practices in your community or business, please contact us.
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