Imagine a world where every human was aware of and felt responsible for all their decisions’ impacts. Follow that rabbit hole… You’ll quickly be overwhelmed, but it’s a powerful concept.
We (myself and my Mazzetti colleagues) tried to break down that vision into personal accountability challenges, focused on sustainability.
Throughout 2018, our sustainability champions facilitated company-wide challenges helping us reflect on the impacts of our daily decisions. We challenged ourselves with a zero-landfill day. We reconsidered purchases to avoid single-use plastics. We timed our showers and tried new commute methods. We took time to understand food labels and took breaks to enjoy the outdoors.
And, at least for some, these challenges were not only eye-opening, but also yielded real impacts. Some comments from our colleagues…
“I am always cognizant now (of single use plastics) and have substituted responsibility/ownership for convenience.”
“I bike to work every day now.”
“My water usage has decreased since the Earth Month water challenge.”
“I definitely make more environmentally conscious decisions in what I eat, purchase, and consume.”
“It’s helped me to teach my kids to think about waste and recycling too.”
The challenges created a platform for conversations about how we can behave as responsible environmental stewards every day (not just on Earth Day or Month). Our hypothesis — being more conscious of one particular impact for a whole day would lead to “a-ha” moments and ultimately changes – first at the individual level and eventually at the company and community levels.
The impact of one person avoiding single-use plastics for one day seems minor, but the impact of 200 people trying to avoid single-use plastics for a whole year makes a bigger splash. The impact of 200 people talking to their families, friends, and neighbors about avoiding single-use plastics creates some ripples. We know the power of the herd mentality, and we know behavior influences the way we think. Perhaps being intentional with these small, daily tasks will help us solve bigger, more complex problems.
If nothing else, we know these exercises facilitate more mindfulness and other personal health and wellness benefits.
Our experiment continues in 2019, and this year, we’re inviting you to join us.
We’re keeping the challenges short and simple, empowering participants with tips, resources, and reminders. We’re constantly tweaking our approach based on feedback, and we welcome yours.