Blog Contributor: Elenore Breslow
Every day we make choices in our lives that impact the environment around us – from the food we eat to the car we drive. Leading a sustainable lifestyle is an important first step in taking climate action, and perhaps can become a precursor of wider change to help incentivise climate action on a larger scale.
Staff members in Facilities Management (FM) are setting the tone across the University by taking part in their first Holiday Sustainability Challenge. Blackstone Energy Services and Brock partnered together to provide an innovative and interactive sustainability app to encourage adoption of more sustainable habits through friendly competition. This past fall a student-focused challenge was hosted but now staff are getting in on the fun too!
“We’re so proud of the efforts and overall participation from the FM team in the challenge, said Drew Cullen, Manager, District Energy. “Not only was the competition a great way to inspire everyone to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, but it was also a fun team bonding exercise.”
The weeklong challenge started on December 6 and ended on December 10, 2021. Six teams took part, which included team fun names like “Carbon Crushers”, “Captain Planet and the Paperless Posse”, and “Eco Warriors”. FM did not take the challenge lightly; and there may have been some sore losers. In the end the Carbon Crushers took first prize and won sustainable gift baskets from the Campus Store. Even though the competition was all in good fun, it does sound like the other teams are already looking for a rematch.
Impact Totals from the Challenge:
Over 3.6 tons of CO2 saved
270 kilograms of waste diverted
5300 gallons of water saved
Participants logged their actions in the Blackstone Energy App. Popular actions that earned points included: taking a shorter shower, having a vegetarian meal, carpooling, and visiting a park. The challenge encouraged FM to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives and share the reasoning behind these behavioral changes with those around them.
“The holiday sustainability challenge was a fun experience and it also highlighted that many of us in FM already live sustainable lives, but there is always room for improvement,” said Dave Mcarthur, Director, Facilities & Services.
“It also illustrated that adopting sustainable habits doesn’t necessarily cost more, it just can require a little discipline,” he said.
Moving forward, there are plans to host more sustainability challenges for staff and faculty, as well as students. Individual action matters and when we choose to take public transit instead of driving, purchase local produce, or switch to LEDs, we have an impact. The goal of these challenges is to showcase how everyone can make their lives more sustainable, and hopefully continue the actions after the contest is over.