Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 10, 2008
One million Acts of Green make a difference
By SUZANNE ELSTON
It’s a single idea, really. One million acts of green, done one act at a time. On Oct. 21, George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC’s The Hour, launched the One Million Acts of Green (OMAG) initiative.
Using an interactive website, www.onemillionactsofgreen.com, the idea is to tally one million acts of green that represent individual changes in everyday habits. David Suzuki, arguably one of Canada’s greenest citizens, joined Stroumboulopoulos for the launch and made his own pledge.
“Every day I will pick up a piece of garbage somewhere during the day and put it in the proper place,” said Suzuki.
During the show Canadian pop icon Alanis Morissette promised to get serious about composting. “I know how to do it,” she said. “It’s just a case of doing it!”
An introductory video on the OMAG website adds more Canadian stars to the list of Canadians prepared to pledge the own Acts of Green.
Acts of Green stars
“I drive a fuel efficient car but I prefer to walk,” said Little Mosque on the Prairie star Zaib Shaikh.
Fellow cast member Carol Rota has his own act of green. “I do not drink out of plastic bottles anymore.”
The key is to encourage everyone to re-visit their everyday habits and make a pledge to change them. While Stroumboulopoulos admitted that none of these acts could make much of a difference by itself, when you add up a million of them, real change seems possible.
He might be on to something. Only five days after the website was launched, over 90,000 acts of green had already been tallied, saving more than 6,170,000 kg of greenhouse gases in the process.
The most difficult part of joining is learning how to navigate the website. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out that I had to create my own profile before I could start logging acts of green, but once I got the hang of it, navigation was a lot easier.
Acts are listed by category (transportation, home — easy and big, community and everyday habits), and within each category there is a list of specific activities that can be added to the total acts of green.
For example, easy home projects are focused on energy and water conservation and include things like installing a programmable thermostat, using motion sensors on outdoor lights, installing low-flow showerheads and tap aerators as well as fixing leaky faucets. More difficult and/or costly projects include replacing old appliances with Energy Star models, insulating your basement and attic, and installing PV solar cells or wind turbines.
Community projects include signing your friends up for one million acts of green, starting or joining a community group, and writing a politician (one can only assume about making environmental change for the better).
Under the transportation category, acts include walking or biking to work, taking public transit, “send your old car to car heaven” and checking your tire inflation.
Within each Act of Green there is a tally of total participants and total of greenhouse gases reduced. Each act also offers fast facts and links related to the act of green. For example, under “send your old car to car heaven,” there is an explanation of the tax benefits of scrapping your old car, and a link to Car Heaven, an initiative of the Clean Air Foundation that provides tax receipts and other incentives to get older, heavily polluting cars permanently off the road.
As of this writing, 440 participants have agreed to retire their old cars, for a total greenhouse gas reduction of 740,000 kg.
You can also check your own personal tally. I managed to tally 27 acts of green and 4,654 kg of reduced greenhouse gases in just a few minutes and that was only entering home projects and transportation.
The beauty of the website is that you can immediately see the benefit of your actions. In the face of so much discouraging news about the environment, One Million Acts of Green really makes you believe that together we can really make a difference.
If your car is a 1995 model or older, if might just be time to send it to Car Heaven. Check out www.carheaven.ca.
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