Going Green on St Paddy’s
By Carla Steenkamp
Irish or not, each year thousands of people across the globe, go green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a cultural and religious celebration to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Are you green with envy that in some cities this day is declared a public holiday and you have to sit at work? Don’t be dismayed. As people gear up in their shamrocks and leprechaun attire to paint their cities green with various shenanigans, you too can make a very green statement and also a difference right where you are.
Here are five ways to go green in your workplace to celebrate this green public holiday in a different way. By doing so, you can reduce your carbon footprint and leave a green clover mark:
1. Commute to be cool
We can ease some of the strain of billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year by carpooling or taking public transport to work. We can follow Shanghai’s example when 20,000 people across the city took public transport or walked to work on the 5th of March after Shanghai authorities called for commuters to be green for a day to increase awareness of the importance of environmental protection issues. From electric cars to hybrids to buses and bicycles, there are plenty of ways to get around town in a more eco-friendly manner and besides all the cool kids are doing it.
2. Flip the power switch
Barcelona formed a Local Energy Agency to promote a sustainable attitude to the environment and urban energy consumption in particular. The agency’s purpose is to keep the municipality, its citizens and industries informed about renewable energy, as well as to participate in the development of new sustainable energy production installations. Since it might be quite difficult to convince your employer or building to switch to solar energy, you can suggest they apply smaller steps, like optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices or unplugging printers and scanners until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in unoccupied spaces.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The easiest way for anyone or any company to help the environment is to recycle or upcycle goods. In the office environment alone you can reuse paper, and recycle anything from light globes to ink cartridges. Apart from setting up a recycling station and encouraging fellow employees to play their part, you can even challenge them to think of creative ways to reuse used goods in the office to get their creative juices flowing. Levi Straus didn’t only came up with ways and technology to recycle plastic bottles into polyester fibre to create their Levi’s Waste 4 range.
4. Green is the new black
Talking about leading fashion labels using innovative methods to recycle, think before you do your next impulsive wardrobe buy. Instead opt for thrift stores or go vintage the next time you need to shop for a new work outfit or cute cocktail dress for a function. There are great brands like Levi you can support who make clothes out of organic or recycled fibers. For more strategies on greening those work clothes and still stay trendy visit: How to Go Green: Wardrobe.
5. Meatless Mondays
Turn your blue Monday into a green one by feeding your body with everything that is good and wholesome for you. There are numerous ways you can go green with your food. Rather opt for foods that are local, organic and sustainable for meetings, lunches and catered events. Use reusable containers to bring your lunch to work or join co-workers and place large orders to avoid a miniature mountain of packaging waste. Lead your company to join the Meatless Monday movement – a pledge to eat vegetarian or go meat free once a week.
We challenge you to go green and add to the list of saintly incentives you can apply at work! And here’s hoping that the luck of the Irish blesses your exchange traded to go green.