Earth Day was founded in 1970. U.S. Senatory Gaylord Nelwo of Wisconsin called for a nationwide demonstration in the spring of 1970 aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues. It worked. The first national Earth Day was April 22, 1970.
As we gather with our colleagues to launch projects and to bring our work initiatives to the next stages, let's remember to hold meetings that have the lowest possible environmental impact.
"Meeting green" involves making sustainable choices for meeting locations, food and materials. The following tips can get you started:
Go paperless. Many meetings result in paper waste when handouts and other copies are produced in excess or discarded after the meeting. To avoid this common occurrence, make agendas and other materials available electronically before and after the event. Use PowerPoint presentations and whiteboards during the event. Be sure to inform your participants beforehand that there will be no copies so that they may make the best decisions about their own meeting preparation.
Consider your catering choices. Water, iced tea, juice, etc. can be served in pitchers rather than individual containers. Provide buffet style food choices rather than individual items that result in packaging waste. Choose reusable cutlery and dishware when possible but, if impractical; select only compostable or biodegradable items such as paper cups and plates versus those made of plastic or Styrofoam.
Make recycling easy. When you must use plastic or aluminum cans, be sure that recycling bins are plainly visible next to garbage cans. Work with facilities or housekeeping in your area to learn about recycling options in your building. Re-use discarded handouts or save them for scrap paper. Recycle what is not needed.
Meet vitually. Our organization is physically spread throughout Manhattan and beyond. It can be a challenge to find a meeting location to best accommodate all participants' needs. Using cabs to travel to/from our various locations consumes limited natural resources and is costly to the organization. Meetings can occur via various web-based platforms. Check with ITS support for supported applications.
Communicate your sustainable efforts throughout your area of influence. Transforming your work area to a culture of sustainability is done with good communication and through example. Explain to staff and colleagues why things are changing in your meetings and what you are trying to accomplish by going green.