Convenient Truths: Reduce Your Workplace's Carbon Emissions


While the New Year has barely begun, the Treehugger and Seventh Generation Convenient Truths video contest is heading into its waning period: we're about half-way through the entry phase, which ends on February 28th. Have you submitted your video yet? Why not? These folks did, and earned a phone conversation with actress, activist and contest judge Daryl Hannah. The next person to submit a video will also get a call from the star of Splash and Roxanne -- will it be you?Our living and transportation choices provide ample opportunities for lightening our environmental footprint (and shooting a great video). The next place to look is probably the work place: with just a little observation, you 'll likely identify a multitude of wasteful practices just screaming for that treehugging touch. Start by having a talk with your employer about these issues, as they're not just burning up natural resources and spewing carbon into the atmosphere -- they're also costing him or her money. Some hot spots for office wastes:

  • Paper: more than likely, your co-workers and superiors go through a lot of it! Suggest making double-sided printing the norm for internal documents, and make sure used paper finds its way to a recycling bin... as opposed to a trash can.
  • Office equipment: Computers, copiers, fax machines and other gadgets use lots of juice. Suggest enabling power saving modes on these necessities, and implementing a policy of "turn off your machines" when employees are done for the night.
  • Lighting: Just like at home, suggest switching to power and money-saving compact fluorescents and LEDs.
  • Heating and cooling: Find a happy medium on the thermostat, and use blinds and/or curtains (if available) to lower heat leakage in the winter, and higher temperatures in the summer.
  • Property management: if your workplace is in leased space, ask the boss to have a talk with the building's owner about energy-efficiency features such as programmable thermostats, motion sensors for lights, and addition of insulation, weather stripping, or even highly efficient doors and windows when it's time for renovation.
  • Telecommuting: If employees can occasionally work from home, that will reduce their commuting time, their spending on gasoline and parking, and their carbon emissions... and who wouldn't love working in their pajamas?! If that's not feasible, how about encouraging carpooling or public transportation use?
If you're getting in the mood for having that eco-talk with the boss, you can find many other suggestions for greening the office in Treehugger's "How to Green Your Work" Guide.

Of course, don't forget to get all of this on video! Remember, we're more interested in content that compels viewers into action than in professional polish: a video made on a cell phone camera has an equal shot at the almost $30,000 in prizes as one that took hours of shooting, editing and dubbing. If you want to pick the brains of other eco-filmmakers, consider joining the contest's Google Group. Also, take a look at the videos already submitted -- you may just find the inspiration you need.

February 28th is drawing near -- make sure to submit your video!