It seems like everywhere you turn lately, people are talking about how to be kinder to the planet. One example is just how much interest was generated when GM unveiled its plans for the Chevy Volt last year. As I write this, 46,527 people are on the waiting list for the upcoming electric car, which is scheduled to be released in late 2010 as a 2011 model. At my house, we wash our clothes in cold water; use a programmable thermostat; turn off the lights when we’re not in a room; recycle and compost our waste; use a low flush toilet, energy efficient appliances, and an electric lawnmower; and of course, snuggle our two dogs for warmth!    

Maplesoft is also going green. Last Friday, our environmental committee held a lunchtime event to raise awareness of how we can each do our part. While we enjoyed a barbeque lunch (cooked by our director of international channels, who valiantly braved the cold), representatives from a variety of local companies and institutions shared information on topics such as waste management and recycling programs, how to improve home energy efficiency, public water systems, public transit and plans for rapid transit systems, and renewable energy. One lucky employee was even the recipient of a free composter.

Everyone was encouraged to bring in their own plate and cutlery, to save on waste; those who forgot could “rent” them for a dollar, with all monies raised going to a charity working on wetlands conservation, Ducks Unlimited.

We also participated in an initiative called “One Million Acts of Green”. The idea behind this is that if enough people agree to do small things to help the environment, the collective effort can make a big difference. Anyone can participate, doing as much or as little as they want, with the results being tallied using an online “green calculator”. People can perform “acts” such as switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, turning off work computers at night, or choosing to walk to work.

Over one lunch hour, we tallied 537 “acts of green” that Maplesoft employees have committed to. These included things like:

  • Turning the tap off when brushing your teeth
  • Drinking tap water, not bottled water
  • Replacing plastic bags with reusable bags
  • Using a rainwater barrel
  • Eating one vegetarian meal a week
  • Air-drying clothing instead of using a dryer
  • Installing low-flow showerheads

As you can see, it’s really easy to become involved - all it takes is a small commitment and a little bit of time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this; feel free to let me know in the comments section any acts of green you’ve been committing lately.

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