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3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Work


You can promote sustainability in a big way with your wallet and encourage your employer to do the same.

Today, on Earth Day 2013, the globe’s carbon dioxide levels are higher than they’ve been in the last 800 millennia. When the world first celebrated Earth Day 42 years ago, the planet’s atmospheric health wasn’t exactly a high priority–and we’re paying for that neglect now in the form of weird weather and choke-thick smog, among other almost-apocalyptic consequences. That’s depressing.

But it wasn’t too long ago that the civilized world really started making a concerted effort to fix what Carl Sagan once called “our pale blue dot.” The good news is that, by now, we have made measurable progress to curb global warming. Today, we have an entire industry based around shrinking our collective carbon footprint–the green-collar sector. We have checks and balances in place to keep companies in line with more environmentally friendly ideals. More and more companies vie for personal and corporate sustainability to ease our conscience and boost the bottom line (saving green: thankfully a welcome side-effect of going green).

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Celebrate Earth Day 2013

In honor of Earth Day, we’ve compiled a list of a few ways to actively protect Mother Earth, whether at home or in the office.

1.     Cut the paper trail.

Paper kills trees, belches out tons of greenhouse gas and is probably the easiest and most obvious workplace accessory to limit. Every modern office has sounded the call to cut back or even go paper-free. I’m assuming the default setting on your printer is double-sided–that’s a start. But now technology means there’s a new app invented, like, every minute that makes it easier to cut out paper consumption. Forbes kindly cobbled together a list of resources to sidestep the need for bleached sheets of tree pulp in the office, including using online collaboration software like Google Docs, using e-signatures, signing up for paperless bills and receipts via Square (a super handy app, if you haven’t heard). And why not opt for file-sharing tools like DropBox or YouSendIt instead of fax and scans? Simple stuff, you guys.

2.     Patronize eco-friendly business

Corporate sustainability has come a long way because consumers vote with their buying power to reward companies that make the environment a priority.  Yahoo! News shared a list of 13 cool eco-friendly businesses. But again, even companies without “eco” or “enviro” in the title could be implementing environmentally responsible policies worth your patronage. Do a little research. Support the cause. Hopefully, save the planet.

3.     Kickstart your own green initiative at work

This point is arguably self-serving since coming up with a successful initiative is both a way to improve the workspace and flex your leadership chops to superiors. So what? It’s good for you, good for your co-workers and good for the planet. Think of the whole office: is there incentive to carpool, recycle and conserve? Look around: see enough signs of nature, like real office plants or a courtyard? Is the air clean? Assess your office’s needs and take charge of enacting a solution. A green workplace gives powerful boost to employee efficiency and human performance if done correctly. Look for an existing green workplace certification program to find out how to get started.

How are you making you celebrating Earth Day at work? Tell us on Twitter or in the comments!

(Image credit: NASA via flickr)

Jennifer Wadsworth
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