Climate change affects communities and habitats all over the globe, and Baltimore County is no exception. More frequent severe weather events, flooding and extreme temperatures are just a few of the effects of climate change that affect our community. Everyone—residents, businesses and all our county’s institutions and organizations—must do their part to mitigate climate change, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create a more sustainable county for future generations.

As one of the largest employers operating in the county, Baltimore County Government employs more than 6,600 people, many of whom can count themselves among the county’s more than 860,000 residents. As public officials, county employees have the opportunity to lead by example in the fight against climate change by taking actions to lessen their environmental footprint and help others do the same. Baltimore County’s Green @ Work team created the Baltimore County Sustainability Challenge to increase climate change awareness and foster behavior change among county employees and their families and friends.

For this year’s challenge, the Green@Work team has broken the competition down into four weekly challenges.

Week 1 focuses on energy actions, such as weatherizing the home, upgrading lighting, timers on lights, turning off lights and equipment when not in use, and unplugging unused devices.

Week 2 focuses on reducing solid waste, including refillable pens, eco-friendly cleaning products, limiting printing, printing double sided, greening gifts (including gifting an experience or subscription), shopping at or donating to thrift stores, reusable water bottles, and reusable bags and straws.

Week 3 focuses on reducing emissions, including “car free days,” shopping local, carpooling and public transit, natural light, lowering thermostats, and adding plants.

Week 4 includes sustainable eating, such as composting, sustainable and waste free lunches, growing your own herbs, in-season produce, vegetarian and vegan meals, and a reusable cup or mug for the coffee shop.

This friendly competition allows participants to earn recognition for taking action to live more sustainably at work and at home. Participants report their sustainable actions via an online form, and each action is awarded points in the competition. Many people have uploaded photos with their submissions.

Employees throughout the County have taken the Challenge and are showing us the ways they strive to make ours a cleaner, greener community. Though individually these actions may seem not to make a significant impact, collectively they make a big difference in our planet’s health. If everyone in Baltimore County took a few actions throughout their day, think of the impact we could make!