Are You Up for the Challenge?

September 19, 2012

EcoChallenge Leads the Curious and the Motivated to Take Responsibility for the Earth

By Deborah McNamara,
Director of Organizational Partnerships
Northwest Earth Institute

Chances are there’s something on your “to-do” list for the planet – whether it’s replacing the front lawn with a veggie garden, installing rain barrels, getting a bus pass or kicking the bottled water habit, most of us have something we’ve been meaning to change in order to reduce our environmental impact, save money and live better.

In New Jersey, many towns have sponsored community wide Green Challenges as part of the Sustainable Jersey certification program.  The challenge helps the community members to make specific changes in their lives or in the way they do business.

Sustainable Jersey and the Northwest Earth Institute

This year, Sustainable Jersey is partnering with the Northwest Earth Institute to offer an easy way for individuals, communities and towns to set up a Green Challenge Program.  This October 1-15th is the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and change for good by joining the Northwest Earth Institute’s annual EcoChallenge and inviting others to do so as well.

Choose One Action to Do for Two Weeks

During the EcoChallenge, participants choose one action to reduce their environmental impact and stick with it for two weeks. Ecochallengers pick a category—water, trash, energy, food or transportation—and set a goal that is fun, stretches their comfort zone and makes a difference for themselves and the planet. Past EcoChallenges include: not driving a car for two weeks, doing a “100 mile diet,” and cutting household trash by 80 percent.

In 2011, EcoChallenger Sarah Crump selected trash for her challenge category and carried all of her trash with her for two weeks. To find out what Sarah learned, what surprised her and why she loved the challenge, check out her 90-second video profile (as well as the profiles of other EcoChallengers) at:

Left: Sarah Crump opens her portable trash bag; Sarah’s 2011 EcoChallenge was to carry all of her trash with her at all times.

Right: Elise Lind washes local green beans; Elise’s 2011 EcoChallenge was to eat only food locally produced (in her case, Washington and Oregon).

Instead of struggling to change on your own, the EcoChallenge gives you built-in support from thousands of other participants and fun and easy ways to share stories with friends and family. In fact, most EcoChallengers discover that what starts as a two-week challenge becomes a lifetime of meaningful change.

Learn more and choose your challenge today at:  You must sign up no later than October 1st to participate. Please contact NWEI with questions or for support at

Deborah McNamara is Director of Organizational Partnerships for the Northwest Earth Institute. She can be reached at

For more about Sustainable Jersey®:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Images courtesy Northwest Earth Institute
Sustainable Jersey staff and partners are regular contributors to the Dodge blog