For those of you who don't know me in real life, I'll share a few details of my connections. I work full-time for a very large part of King County, which is already a large government organization. King County is one of Washington State's largest (and best) employers, and Metro, the county bus system, makes up a big component of the whole. I started out driving a city bus nine years ago. My experiences were good, bad, and everything in between. A little over two years ago I moved into Supervision, and I couldn't be happier (unless a farm was involved). I currently teach operators how to drive buses, I help them qualify on routes, and I answer countless questions. Metro currently employs around 4000 people, and I come into contact with a very large number of those people on a regular basis. Apart from those things which I do at work that fall into the category, "My Job," I also take pride in setting good examples for others to follow. Below is an excerpt from work yesterday.
Four supervisors, including myself, were out in a van reviewing routes for one of the classes we teach. We stopped at the nearby 24 hour Starbucks and went inside for a break. Each of the other three members of the group purchased a beverage, and two purchased food. Names have been changed, but not because anything bad happened.
Ryan- You're not getting a drink?
Me- No, I ditched coffee a couple of years ago. (Casually sips tea made at home in recycled mug.)
Sue- I'm so hungry (wolfs down egg salad sandwich), and I didn't bring anything with me today.
Me- Yeah, I always pack something. I can't go without food.
Sue- I should do that (looks ill after eating too quickly), but I'm bad at planning.
Me- I use a computer program that helps me plan out all my meals, and it's easy to stick to.
Ryan- Is this the thing that gives you a GPA on the meals? You mentioned it before.
Me- Yep. I love it. I get a better variety of things to eat, and I don't make as many irrational decisions about food while I'm out. I feel so much better having a meal plan.
I'm not against Starbucks, I just don't want to spend my money on something like that when I can plan ahead. I like feeling good. "Sue" later asked me for a link to the program so that she could possibly try it out.
Lots of people at work ask me about the food I snack on, the chickens in our backyard, my obsessive behavior of leaving the lights off in my office, etc, and it gives me a chance to talk to them about new ideas which might make positive changes in their lives and in our shared environment. I feel like that influence is important.
In response to the One Small Change idea, I'd like to mention a change we've already made for this month and the remainder of 2010. We decided to change before I even read about the challenge, but I think this fits nicely with the theme. The City of Everett provides garbage, recycling (bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and newspaper), and yard waste. We started yard waste in 2008 and put that bin out in the alley every week. It began as a way to get rid of grass clippings and the sod we were tearing out of the front yard to make way for landscaping and raised beds. Last year, 2009, we constructed a three bin composter in the back yard. It's time to put that composter to work! The compost from the end of the year has already been turned over into the center bed, and a new bed has begun (thank you chicken poo!). I've never done hot composting, primarily because I'm lazy, and I know it'll decompose if you leave it to sit long enough, but this year will be different. Everything we trim, cut, mow, and prune will be composted on site, bringing us just one step closer to sustainability. Yard waste has already been canceled. There's no going back now.
One last thing. Yard waste in the city is a fantastic resource. There are rules about what you can and cannot put in the bins, and everything they collect goes to a city composting facility. If you live in an area which provides this service and you do not have the space or dedication to compost, call your local garbage and recycling company and ask them about yard waste.
When asked about composting, Jodie answered, "It's better than ending up on the grill."