Many people say they’re going to recycle, buy locally grown food, and even bike to work, but the commitment too often ends there: with words.

Bike to work

So the nonprofit Northwest Earth Institute has created what it calls an “eco-challenge” to close this gap between what we say and what we do.

David Macek is the Institute’s executive director. He says the challenge is designed so participants sign up with others in their community – for example, from their college, faith group, or workplace. This provides social support and allows for some light competition.

In teams, the participants commit to taking one sustainable action for two weeks.

Macek: “You might look at your life and you say, ‘What’s one thing over these next two weeks that I could shift?’ A typical one is committing to taking short showers.”

David Macek
David Macek

Other commitments include buying only reusable kitchen supplies or creating a “green team” in your office.

The participants track their actions for the duration of the challenge.

Macek: “Altogether at the end of these two weeks, you get to see how a group of people coming together with some small actions add up to big change.”

People SAY they'll improve habits, but don't always DO it. A nonprofit figured out how to fix that. Click To Tweet

Because when people commit to conservation alongside others, they’re more likely to follow through – and do what they say.

Reporting credit: Justin Bull/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Biking photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Northwest Earth Institute’s Eco-Challenge website

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