While pursuing Sustainable America’s mission to make the nation’s food and fuel systems more sustainable, we’ve also been working hard on those issues closer to home. At our headquarters here in Stamford, Conn., we recycle and compost our waste, purchase green products as much as possible, and drive a C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid company car. We installed energy-efficient lighting and appliances and low-flow water fixtures, used reclaimed wood to line our inner wall and build our conference and event tables, and worked with the CT DEEP to install an electric car charging station in our parking lot. We’re also working on a showcase of sustainability products that already boast a movable edible wall unit from Land Escapes, a slick electric sports car, a state-of-the-art aquaponics system by Aquaplanet, and an Idle Air truck stop electrification demo unit.
We’re proud of our efforts, but we also recognize that we can always do more and we can always do better. Borrowing from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council, we share the mantra that “Greening is a journey, not a destination. There is no green, only greener; and there is no best, only better.”
So today, on Earth Day 2014, our staff is launching a month-long sustainability challenge. We have each chosen a way we can be greener over the next month, from composting to eating less meat. We will share the challenges we faced, obstacles we overcame, and joys we found along the way here on the blog next month. The hope, of course, is that the changes we make and the lessons we learn will continue beyond the challenge and become incorporated into our everyday lives.
Without further ado, here are our sustainability challenge commitments:
Heidi: Plan a Sustainable Event
“Parties customarily generate a tremendous amount of waste. For Sustainable America’s inaugural gala, I am working to reduce waste and source local and sustainable components for décor, etc. It is a challenge and I am learning a lot, and I’m sure that there will be many more surprises along the way.” —Heide Hart, Office Manager
Andy: Compost in an Apartment
“Our home is in a complex without a yard or much green-space, which is a situation many other people face. Composting under these conditions not only supports our message, but emphasizes that anyone – anywhere – can improve their sustainability.” —Andy Holtz, Director of Development and Advancement
Katrina: Achieve a Zero-Waste Home
“These past few months a lot of my work has focused on zero-waste. Zero-waste events, zero-waste stadiums, business support and the like. It is one thing to do this in public spaces, and another to do it at home. For one month my husband and I are going to get our hands dirty and see what it means to try and achieve zero-waste at home.” —Katrina Kazda, Director of Programs
Jeremy: Eat Less Meat and Lower on the Food Chain
“I want to reduce the footprint of what I eat. I’ve been learning about the different efficiencies of proteins and how eating lower on the food chain can have a big impact. I’m not going vegetarian, but I’m going off beef and pork. This is actually a pretty big sacrifice for me!” —Jeremy Kranowitz, Executive Director
Gray: Grow Food in Containers and Compost at Home
“We already have a vegetable garden, but our yard is small and we have three kids that need a place to play. We’re going to experiment with different container growing methods to see if we can grow more food. We’re also going to start composting.” —Gray Peckham, Director of Investments
Nick: Compost at Home
“We have a garden in our yard, but I have not yet bought or built a good composting area. Now is a great time to get this done!” —Nick Tiller, Founder and Chairman
We look forward to sharing our individual journeys with you and welcome you to join us in your own sustainability challenge!
Happy Earth Day from all of us at Sustainable America!