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The sustainability committee challenges you to push yourself this week in small acts to work toward sustainability.

How it Works

  1. You will receive an email each day this week that focuses on a specific sustainability topic and lists three actions you can take.
  2. We have created a survey for you to record all the actions you take during the week. You can either submit a new entry each day, or fill in all of your actions at the end of the week. We will send a reminder with a link to the survey in Friday’s e-mail and the survey will be open until the end of the day on Monday, April 23.
  3. The committee will review the submissions and will award prizes for outstanding performance.

Daily E-mails and Activities

Today’s activities:

  1. Watch UNC’s Three Zeros Video.
  2. Check out the Carolina Earth Week schedule of events you can attend.
  3. Save paper by faxing straight from your computer.

How to fax from your computer:

Many of us who started faxing back in the 1900s are still in the habit of printing our documents, walking them over to the fax machine, then faxing them to the recipient. To save yourself time and reduce paper usage you can do this:

  • Whenever possible email the document or a .PDF of the document.
  • If you are required to send to the recipient’s actual fax machine:
    1. From your print screen select a fax-enabled printer — at the SCE we have three:
      • Box Turtle (rm 10)
      • Brook Trout (rm 49)
      • Cardinal (rm 84)
    2. In the Job Type or similar option select Fax and fill in the recipient details.
    3. Click OK until you get back to the Print screen, then click Print.

Today’s activities:

  1. Watch Susan Hassol’s TEDx Climate Talks: Science and Solutions video
  2. Go to Susan Hassol’s talk Tuesday, April 17 in the Genome Sciences building. Reception starts at 4:30 p.m. and talk begins at 5:30 p.m.
  3. Have a conversation with a friend or family member about an environmental issue that is important to you. See below for tips to make this easier!

Let’s Talk About It

A great way to celebrate Earth Day is to take the time to have a conversation with your friends and family about the environmental issues that are important to you. I know, I know, talking to people who may not share your views is tricky. No one wants to get into an argument, or worse, offend anyone. The problem is that if we never talk about these critical issues – issues like climate change, loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, and access to healthy food – how are the people you love going to know that you care about these issues and that they affect you? And, more importantly, how are we going to solve them?

Pro Communication Tips

Need some tips about how to have good conversations about tough environmental topics? Check out this TEDx talk by Carolina Earth Week keynote speaker, Susan Joy Hassol, a climate change communicator, analyst, and author who’s been making climate science accessible for 25 years. As Director of Climate Communication, she helps scientists communicate more effectively and provides information to policymakers and journalists – and on TONIGHT at 4:30 in Genome Science, she’s coming to UNC to teach us how to do it, too. In her presentation she’ll explain how to talk about climate science in ways that spur action, not antagonism and give you the tools and confidence you need to start talking about one of the most important issues of our time.

Change the Conversation, Change the World

As Susan Hassol says in her TEDx talk, “We all want a cleaner, healthier world. A vibrant economy. A better future for our children. We need to create a conversation around these shared values and around how climate change is affecting all of us, where we live, and the places we depend on for food, water, and other necessities. So, it’s time to change conversation, so we can change the world.”

You can do it! It starts with a conversation.

Sustainable transportation options play a key role in reducing the environmental impact of staff and student commutes. With fare free campus transit, free bikeshare, and the Commuter Alternative Program, UNC has been awarded the Best Workplace for Commuters designation for ten years running by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency!

Today’s Activities:

  1. Make the commitment to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation to some place you would normally drive.
  2. Visit the Commuter Alternative Program table at the Earth Day Fair.
  3. Try out theTar Heel Bikes program free by downloading the Sobi App.

Use Your Feet!

If public transportation is not an option for getting you into work, walking to lunch or to meetings around campus is a great and easy way to reduce your transportation impact. Walking can save you money, keep you healthy, and might even be faster than driving, as traffic congestion can be a real hassle!

Commute Alternatively!

Participation in the Commuter Alternative Program (CAP) is an easy and affordable way to change your commute from a car to something more sustainable! CAP members give up their UNC parking permit and in exchange receive access to Town of Chapel Hill and UNC operated park and ride lots, subsidies for vanpools, and preferential parking for carpools.
Make sure to visit their table at the Earth Day Fair today and see how well CAP could work for you and your commuting needs!

Pedal to the Metal!

Biking around campus has been made even easier with the launch of UNC’s new bikeshare program, Tar Heel Bikes! Bikeshares are a great way to get around quickly, without the personal cost and hassle of owning and maintaining a bike of your own. Reduce vehicle emissions, reduce traffic congestion, and keep yourself and your community healthier!

Have you been to your local farmers’ market lately? What about that small boutique right down the street from your home or office that has fantastic greeting cards and gifts? Or that new locally owned coffee shop that opened in your neighborhood? Well, what are you waiting for? With the SCE located right in the heart of downtown Carrboro, the lunch and shopping options are amazing!

Today’s Activities:

  1. Walk (or bike or bus) to lunch at one of Carrboro or Chapel Hill’s dozens of locally owned restaurants and cafes.
  2. Commit to shopping for one day’s meals at one of the area farmers’ markets (Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Saxapahaw all have fantastic farmers’ markets and communities like Pittsboro, Hillsborough, Burlington, and Graham are all stepping up their farmers’ market games).
  3. Explore your local options with the Town of Carrboro or the SCE’s Roberson Area Guide or visit a local merchant on Main Street or in Carr Mill Mall during lunch or a work break.

Farmers’ Markets: Fresh foods and gifts from local farmers, craftspeople and chefs

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market opens on Wednesday afternoons from 3pm to 6pm and is a great place to get some of your groceries before heading home from the office. It’s a short walk away and provides a great opportunity to get a little exercise with your co-workers while planning your evening meal. Don’t forget your reusable shopping bag!

Get some fresh air along with your local lunch

With over a dozen locally owned restaurants, two fantastic coffee shops, and the area’s premiere Co-op Market in a one block radius from the Roberson building, hopping in your car for lunch is not an option! Visit one of these local merchants and save the gas money.

Support the local economy, save money and give the environment a break

While shopping locally can often seem daunting and expensive, there are amazing environmental and economic benefits to supporting local merchants, farmers and trades people.

Keeping commerce local requires less transportation, contributes to less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution, all of which are enormous environmental benefits. More local businesses mean a stronger tax base and more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally-owned stores and online retailers. This means better public services like schools, transportation, emergency response and more for you and your family.

It’s 2018 and this year’s Earth Day theme is all about ending plastic pollution!

Did you know…

  • …that humans buy about 1 million plastic bottles per minute?
  • …that 500,000 straws are used daily across the globe?
  • …that Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups annually?
  • …that 24 million tons of plastic packaging ends up in our oceans every year?In 2016, the world produced approximately 335 million metric tons of plastic and nearly half of that production was for single-use products that won’t decompose for over 400 years in landfills.

These numbers seem daunting, but there are ways you can make a positive impact:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse!

You can reduce plastic waste by choosing to buy products with less plastic packaging. Carry your reuse-able water bottle and save 156 disposable bottles per year. Switch to reuse-able shopping bags and avoid 307 disposable plastic bags per year. Take advantage of the SCE’s easy single-stream recycle bins. Refuse single-use plastic items and just say “no” to straws.

Today’s Activities:

  1. Learn how to safely recycle plastic film by watching the Plastic Recycling at UNC video.
  2. Understand your personal impact and check-out the nifty “Plastic Pollution Calculator
  3. Commit to reusable materials and sign the pledge! Consider the types of single-use plastic you most frequently utilize and switch to a more sustainable alternative.
    • I commit to refusing straws at restaurants and for to-go drinks
    • I commit to using a reusable set of utensils at work for lunch and events
    • I commit to bringing my own water bottle everyday
    • I commit to bringing my own shopping bags to the grocery store
Bonus: Attend Plasticon at the Current ArtSpace + Studio in Carolina Square on Saturday, April 21 from 2p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with your friends and family. Learn about the serious environmental challenges that plastic bags present and why they are so difficult to recycle. Admission is FREE.
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