This challenge was designed to encourage us all to do more to protect the environment. We all need a little nudge in the right direction, and a challenge is the perfect vehicle to spur change. And, while weíre using humor to encourage change, the scope of the underlying problems we all face are not funny. We do hope you take this competition seriously. Shame on the city that finishes in last place!
On that note, we are happy to report that interest in this challenge is now beginning to spread fairly rapidly, thanks to the
Mayor of Grande Prairie,
Bill Given. He sent a
challenging other Alberta Mayors to beat Grande Prairie in our green challenge! We very much hope that other cities can challenge Grande Prarie and try to pass them in total points!
(it won't be easy, look how far ahead they are!)
Be assured that we take
very seriously and will NEVER share information with any other organization.
Challenge End Date
The Canadian Environmental Challenge officially begins on April 22, 2011 and will run until April 22, 2012 (earth day to earth day). At the end of the challenge, we plan to announce a new challenge, perhaps one between provinces or even between different countries! Or, we might just add change the rules and add new items to the challenge and run it across Canada again. All of this will depend on how successful this first challenge is - we hope you will support it and make it a success!
Obviously, we expect people to be honest when entering their results, and we believe that, for the most part, they will be. After all, what is to be gained by cheating? There is no prize, except a better earth. That being said, the software behind this system is extremely sophisticated. It compares results between cities, looking for patterns that indicate dishonestly. We will be publishing an honesty report on each city by the end of the challenge, so please keep this in mind.
Please see below, the rules for each item on the weekly checklist. If in doubt on any point, please use your common sense. The golden rule to keep in mind is did my actions contribute to a better environment?
USED OWN COFFEE CUP
Mark this item only if you carried your own coffee cup to be used at a coffee shop, or for coffee in your car, etc. Obviously, it doesnít apply for having coffee at home. If you make your own coffee and carry it, it applies as well.
If you don't already have your own coffee cup to use at coffee shops, why not purchase our
Green Grouch cup!
By purchasing our cup, you help us promote this website, which helps us spread the word about being kinder to mother earth. Also, itís better to have a cup that doesnít have the logo of a major coffee shop on it. That way, you donít feel strange going into a shop with a cup that has the logo of their competitor.
This applies if you checked and/or filled your car tires. If you checked your tires and they were low, but you didnít fill them, please do not check this item. However, if you checked your tires and they didnít need filling, the points apply. It also applies if you checked somebody elseís tires, a company vehicle, etc. In fact, it applies to any vehicle! However, simply checking your car's electronic detector does not count. By the time your sensor detects something, your tires are seriously underinflated! It only counts, for the purposes of our weekly checklist, if you manually check your tire pressure with a hand held pressure guage.
TURNED OFF UNUSED LIGHT
Please donít mark this item simply because you turned off a light sometime during the week. Check it if you went out of your way. For example, if you realize you forgot to turn out the light and have to make a specific trip to another room to do it. If you are perfect, and never forget to turn out the lights, sorry, no points for you! But, we (and mother earth) thank you for being so perfect!
WALKED SOMEWHERE INSTEAD OF DRIVING
This item applies if you walked or biked somewhere instead travelling by car. It only counts if you had the option of using a car (driven by you or somebody else). In other words, if you don't own a car the points don't apply (because you didn't make a choice to walk or bike). However, if you had the option of getting a ride from somebody and made a CHOICE to walk or bike, the points apply. It doesn't apply to travelling by bus (because energy was still used & emissions created). This one is a bit confusing! The bottom line is that the points only apply if you had the option of using a car.
WASHED CLOTHES IN COLD WATER
Go ahead and mark this item if anybody in your household washed clothes in cold water. You might
not be the person that does the laundry, but you can influence the person that does. Whether you had to do any coaxing or not, feel free to take the points!
I DIDNíT COMPLETE ANY OF THESE ITEMS LAST WEEK
Three points for honesty! As mentioned previously, our system has some sophisticated methods for tracking honesty. Without giving away too many of our secrets, this is one of them. We track each city and what percentage of people check this item. It factors into your cityís honesty rating.
USED CLOTH GROCERY BAG
This applies if you purchased groceries and used a cloth bag to transport them. It doesnít apply if you used the cloth bag for other purposes. For example, maybe you used a cloth bag to move a bunch of books. This doesnít count, because it didnít prevent the production of another bag.
OBSERVED MEATLESS MONDAY
There is a tremendous amount of resources used in the production and transport of meat products. While not suggesting everybody go vegetarian, there is a growing movement called ĎMeatless Monday,í which encourages going without meat for one evening meal per week. For the purposes of this challenge, we allow it to be any day of the week, and weíve designated it as the evening meal. If you donít eat an evening meal, you can substitute another meal. We donít expect your meal to be completely vegan, just that it not directly include meat products. This means that cheese, eggs, etc are acceptable. If in doubt, please use your best judgement.
USED REUSEABLE DRINK CONTAINER
While similar to a coffee cup, a reusable drink container can be used for almost any beverage and typically seals in beverages better than reusable coffee cups. Again, this doesnít apply if you are at home and used one! It counts if it prevented you from wasting a disposable cup of some kind. Please (as always) use your common sense.
COMPLAINED TO STORE ABOUT EXCESS PACKAGING
This is important because retailers donít tend to make changes unless there is a demand from customers. While this one might ruffle a few feathers, we need to! The creatures with real feathers are depending on us to do what we can to protect their habitat. So, for this item, you only get points if you speak with a manager. If enough people make complaints, change will come! David Suzuki once said ĎIf the people will lead, the leaders will follow.í
DID AT LEAST ONE OF THESE ITEMS MORE THAN ONCE
Bonus points for completing any item on the list more than once. If youíre a vegetarian, and every day is Meatless Monday for you, go ahead and take the points. If you have a bad memory, and have to make a special trip to turn out a light more than once in a week, take the points! Complete any item multiple times, and you get the points. Way to go, good effort!