Last Sunday, Palo Altans across the city rallied around Earth Day with earth-friendly activities, gestures, and commitments. Residents freely admitted that they are all over the “green continuum” – some are just starting sustainability practices while some have been actively participating for many years. As we look ahead to Earth Day 2013, it is important that each of us realize where we are on the green continuum and take steps to move in the right direction over the next year.
There is no effort too small (or too great) to register on the green continuum, the spectrum of ways each of us can help protect our planet. Claiming your unique place along this continuum will surely be dictated by your available resources and individual passion for going green. Once you find it, challenge yourself to move up the spectrum by incorporating three behavioral changes this year that will push you to the next level of commitment:
- If you’re a green newbie: Start small to kick start your commitment. Replace your current bulbs with CFL or LED lighting, unplug all household electronics when not in use to avoid “vampire energy” loss, and wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.
- If you’re greener than the average person: Think bigger. Recycle old electronic equipment,
buy as much as possible from locally owned businesses that use local resources, and enroll your home or business in the City of Palo Alto’s PaloAltoGreen program.
- If you’re downright passionate about protecting our planet: Aim high. Learn how what you eat impacts the environment and consider making an eco-friendly change, commit to zero-waste in your home, and install drought-resistant landscaping.
In my role leading Microsoft’s citizenship efforts in the Valley, I’ve witnessed the power both small acts of kindness and grand gestures of generosity have on the communities – and the world – in which we live and work. When all the buzz around Earth Day and Earth Month fades, remember that our planet doesn’t keep a calendar and won’t judge how your efforts compare to your neighbor’s. It needs your care and support all year round, and it doesn’t care where you fall on the green continuum. So long as you stick that landing!