For the fourth year in a row, Hennebery Eddy is embarking on the two-week EcoChallenge. We participate as a way of encouraging each other to take personal action and ownership in areas such as health, energy, waste, transportation and food. Many of us find that being mindful of our personal decisions, and making lower-impact choices, connects to how we practice at work. By centering personal and design decisions around our values, we’re working to build a community that is healthy and sustainable for the long term.
So how does this impact the world around us? In addition to the collective impact small changes can have, we hope our participation will encourage others to shift behaviors. According to recent research at Stanford University, if people believe that societal norms are changing, they are more likely to change as well:
People standing in line at a Stanford campus café read statements describing how some people “limit how much meat they eat” (static) or “are starting to limit how much meat they eat” (dynamic). Lunch goers who read the dynamic statement were twice as likely to order a meatless meal than those in the static group (34 percent compared to 17 percent).
An important aspect of these studies, the researchers said, is that participants were never asked to change their behavior, or even told the benefits of doing so.
“We didn’t ask people to not eat meat or eat less meat,” Walton said. “They’re just given information about change.”
Participating in the EcoChallenge is a way to demonstrate our individual and firm-wide commitment to continually make better, more sustainable changes. This encourages others to follow suit.
It might seem overwhelming to commit to a full two weeks of behavior change, but after that period, we have a feeling small changes may be habits. Instead of getting overwhelmed, pick one or two smaller challenges, like turning off the water while you brush your teeth, or drinking from reusable mugs and water bottles instead of disposables. Once these new actions become routine, consider adding more lower-impact changes to your daily life.
One of the best ways to succeed is to share your success and hurdles with those around you. Consider joining our 2017 EcoChallenge team – just create your profile, choose your challenges and let us know what your 2017 #EcoChallenge is!