By Baltimore County Green @ Work Committee

photo collage of reusable bottles

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 currently impact 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 8,000 people, many of whom can count themselves among the county’s approximate 847,000 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.

Reduce, Conserve, Reuse, Repeat

Energy efficiency is vital for mitigating climate change and has the potential to slash U.S. energy use and GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2050, and globally, one million plastic bottles are sold every minute, therefore major components of the Challenge include reducing waste and conserving resources such as energy and water. Through the month-long Sustainability Challenge, participants earn points from a broad set of dozens of sustainable actions, including:

  • Using natural light or turning off unused lights
  • Using reusable shopping bags and to-go cups
  • Unplugging unused devices
  • Packing a waste-free lunch
  • Donating to organizations that accept unwanted items for reuse
  • Removing their address from print mailing lists
  • Making a vegetarian or vegan meal
  • Calculating their own carbon footprint
  • Making one trip to the grocery store/have one grocery order delivered that includes zero single-use products

Taking Action Together

photo of a woman holding reusable dishes

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, which can be viewed on the Clean Green Baltimore County Flickr page.

People from 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 have made 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!