by Daryn Clevesy | Visitor Program Coordinator & Green Team Member
At the Seacoast Science Center (SSC), we are always looking for steps we can take to make less of an impact on our Blue Planet. Just some of our efforts include: installing hydration stations to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles; making all our annual on-site events zero-waste thanks to partnerships with Mr. Fox Composting, Sustainable Seacoast, and EcoProducts; changing our lighting throughout the building to energy-saving LED bulbs; using up-cycled materials for flooring; and most recently, purchasing comfortable furnishings for our east-facing porch made up of 1,680 1-gallon milk jugs.
May is an especially important month for SSC staff members to lower our collective carbon footprint. For the past three years, we have been participating in the annual Seacoast CommuteSMART Challenge. The CommuteSMART B2B Challenge, sponsored by COAST (Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation), is held May 1st-May 30th. This competition is all about having good clean fun amongst staff and between local businesses. It’s a creative way to invite employers across the Seacoast to compete for the honor of having “the smartest, greenest commuting workforce!”
By getting more people to use sustainable transportation such as biking, riding the bus, carpooling, walking or telecommuting, we are not only saving carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from entering our environment, we are saving miles traveled throughout the day, which saves us money on gas. This is a win-win scenario for both our planet and our wallets. One week into 2020’s challenge, 12 SSC participating staff members had already collectively saved 1,746 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 1,899 driven- alone miles, and $1,083. We are on the road (figuratively, not literally) to victory! Last year’s challenge earned the Seacoast Science Center a Silver Award in Sustainability. This year, with changes created to our routines by COVID-19, we hope to earn silver, if not gold, by teleworking as much as possible. Wish us luck!
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work? Are you teleworking (working from home) too? As our staff moves into month three of social distancing, we have all been consciously communicating to one another about what we have been doing to get outside and what “new normals” we are going to stick with once social distancing measures start to lift. I personally purchased a hybrid bicycle as a new means of transportation and am looking forward to lessening my dependency on my car. This has served as a great opportunity for me to get to know my local community better as well. Nothing beats being able to pair a hobby with conservation efforts!