August 12, 2009
This fun interactive program, formerly known as the Cool Campaign program, cuts though all the noise an confusion about what we should be doing to save the planet. It is a grass-roots, community-based approach to reducing our energy use based on simple, easy actions. By uniting communities in a shared effort to fight global warming, ACTerraGreen also helps people feel connected, energized and more positive about their ability to impact the future and support the environment.
ACTerraGreen is a simple, effective program thats helps people reduce their carbon footprint. The campaign invites everyone in a community to join in a group effort by pledging to change at least one energy use practice per month - although many will make numerous changes.
A Green Team, made up of community members who are passionate about the environment, manages the program. Acterra trains the team how to use their unique, off-the-shelf program and provides support throughout the campaign. The Green Team manages an online community, including a website and discussion groups, and provides action steps, helpful suggestions and feedback. Participants come together to share ideas and support each other.
Every month the community is encouraged to try various energy-saving "challenges". Members try out the suggestions at home and annonymously report back their successes. Everyone's results are counted up and shared at the end of each month, so everyone can see the group's progress and positive environmental impact of the campaign. Fun social and educational outreach events are also part of the program.
How effective is ACTerraGreen?
ACTerraGreen is tailored to every community who uses it. The website and other materials can only go so far in educating and motivating people, it is the energy of the Green Team, the interest of the community members, and the impact of engaging in this extended conservation on energy use that makes the critical difference.
ACTerraGreen has been run in local public and private schools and religious congregations. In one school, for example, 165 families representing 75% of the households-participated in the Green Campaign and they performed over 1500 energy-reducing changes to their lifestyle habits. In another school, 260 families performed over 2500 changes. Not only did energy-reduction become an ongoing focus for these participants, they felt better about the future of the environment and their ability to make a positive difference in reducing global warming.
Unfortuneately, I was unable to find a way to join one of these comminities online. However, for more information on starting an ACTerraGreen camapign in your community contact Ellen Wilkinson: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-962-9876 x353.
I'm a Master Naturalist and an outdoor enthusiast -- mostly kayaking, and I live on a Peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay. I'm the author of The Nature Fan, Nature Fan Activists, Green Earth Almanac, and Amanda's Geographic. Formerly, I ran the nationally syndicated column "National Green Activism" for The Examiner, and I was a key factor in the success of many campaigns. Make sure you don't miss a post, and subscribe by email! Thanks for reading.