One Million Things To Do

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Now before you get the impression that this is just me pandering to the masses you should know one thing… you are probably right. Nevertheless, I am pandering for a worthwhile cause. Now some months ago CBC’s The Hour announced that they were going to be launching a program called One Million Acts of Green. If you haven’t heard of this yet than I am lead to believe one of two things. First, you live under a rock and have to attachment at all to the Zeitgeist. Second, you stay away from all forms of electronic communications, in which case good on you for not using any energy.

The One Million Acts of Green project is a challenge from George to the rest of the country to try to accomplish 1 Million acts of green over the next year. As campy as that may sound I think that they really tapped into something. Let me tell you why.

Sure going on a website to proclaim that you did one good thing for the environment is not that groundbreaking. In fact, it’s not even that impressive. Facebook has many applications that let you show everyone else just how green you can be; everything from Green Quizzes to Carbon Counters. It is precisely for this reason that I did not register with the 1 Million Acts project until now. Granted, that my motivation for joining is a little less noble.

This is pretty much how it went down. I was having a conference call with a group of Sustainability Coordinators from around Ontario. We resolved to do this every once and a while to keep everyone up to date about our goings on. It’s not a secret group or anything; we just won’t tell you what we talk about. Joking aside though, my colleague a Trent (Shelley Strain) was pleased to note that Trent University was currently leading the way for Canadian universities. They had the highest number of Green Acts accomplished by their university group. This got me thinking.

So the thinking didn’t last very long because it is the holidays and honestly… there is no time to think. But once things settled down I got back into that whole thinking thing again. I figured maybe it is time that the University of Ottawa gets it community together and gives Trent a run for their money. Plus, it is kind of a new year’s resolution thing.

So I checked out the site today and registered myself. Apparently they are already up to over 650,000 acts of green. Wow, I didn’t realize but people have really latched on to this one, and why not? Having a FaceBook application is one thing, having a nation’s collective focus concentrated into one site… that’s something else.

I dutifully ventured through the site and clicked on all the acts of green that I have been doing lately. A paltry 8 to start but I know that this will get bigger as I commit to more actions. What’s fun about the site is that it doesn’t just harp on you for not being green enough, it actually gives you a list of all the acts that you can do (and trust me there are a lot of them), how much CO2 they save, and how many other people are doing that same action. I think that this added dimension of collective progress makes the site that much more appealing. Recently Canadians took a pounding at the latest round of Kyoto talks. Yes for the bazillionth time we won the Fossil Award for being the biggest losers on the planet. But this site helps us stand up and say “Hey, we’re not all that bad! Some of us are making a difference. Some of us do care and will make sacrifices!”

So as the new year begins I will be trying to spearhead a campaign to get the campus community to embrace a few Acts of Green. Who knows maybe we can win this thing and have George Stroumboulopoulos come to our campus so we can show off some of the green things that we do here.

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