As October comes to an end, so does the fall EcoChallenge. In case you missed it, the EcoChallenge is hosted by the North West Earth Institute, and is a 21 day challenge encouraging participants to learn about sustainability topic areas that interest them, while taking measurable action, having fun, and encouraging others. Individuals earn points, can win prizes, and get to see how these three weeks of learning and/or actions add up to make meaningful change—in our community and around the world.
We were especially excited this fall, as the category of health was added to go along with waste, food, transportation, energy, community, nature, water, simplicity, and you could create your own. As you hopefully know, health and sustainability are directly connected. Not only is having clean air, water, and food integral to your health, doing things like eating more vegetables, using active transportation, and reducing waste are better for you and the environment. This is how sustainability helps us to meet our mission.
Participants selected a limited number of daily activities, including but not limited to eating meals without any form of technology, exercising, refusing single use plastics, or eating meatless meals. They could also select a number of one-time activities including getting an annual physical, watching informational videos on topics, telling others, or buying carbon credits.
This fall the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine team decided to challenge the UNO team. I am happy to report that we won! We put up 15,332 points and placed 40th out of the 842 teams participating. UNO had 13,519 points and finished in 47th place. Had we combined teams, as we did in the spring, we would have been in 16th place!
Speaking of combined effect, our team had an impressive impact. With all the options I can’t list them all, but we saved 1,475 gallons of water, got an additional 855 minutes of sleep, spent 6,220 minutes exercising, ate 227 extra servings of fruits and vegetables, and prevented 223 plastic bottles, 157 straws, and 183 disposable cups from going to the landfill.
Great job team!!
If you missed the EcoChallenge, they’ll be another in the spring. In the meantime, you can have your own impact—pick a sustainability related topic you’d like to know more about or improve/change and challenge yourself (or your friends/family??) to learn more about the topic or make the specific change on a daily basis.