What can you do in two weeks? For the Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI), a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, two weeks might just be enough time to better the world.
Here are a few numbers that will make you question what’s possible in just 14 days: 93,552 plastic bottles and cups diverted from the landfill; 441,676 gallons of water conserved; 80,082 miles traveled by alternative transportation; 344,358 hours spent outdoors; 2,446 volunteer hours; and over 900 phone calls to public officials advocating change.
These numbers represent the collective actions of 8,350 people across 450 teams in last year’s EcoChallenge, a two-week event in October for anyone who wants to find inspirational change in actions to benefit themselves, their communities, and the planet. Participants can choose actions to curb emissions, save water, spend more time outdoors, generate less waste, get more sleep, among other challenges—and because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to sustainability, you can also create your own challenge.
In 2013, I took the EcoChallenge and it changed how I shop at the grocery store, or really any store. While I’ve always been an advocate for the environment (after all, my social media handles describe me as a trail runner litter picker-upper), my EcoChallenge to buy nothing in a package really upped the ante, conservationally speaking. The challenge stuck and today before any purchase I think about the product’s lifecycle and how it may impact the environment. [Continue Reading]