EPE Week: Annelise Carleton-Hug on Evaluating Your Own Environmental Impact

Hello! I’m Annelise Carleton-Hug, principle partner of Trillium Associates, a research, evaluation and consulting company serving clients with programs involving the intersections of environment, education and communities. In this post, I challenge you to evaluate how you can make your own lifestyle more ecologically conscious.

Greendex, a study of 17 countries by National Geographic, currently in its 4th year, is measuring consumer progress toward more environmentally sustainable consumption. The typical American lifestyle exerts such a massive demand on Earth’s ecosystems, or “environmental footprint,” that Americans scored the least sustainable of all countries. A few major lifestyle decisions, including type of housing and vehicle, have the greatest impact on your ecological footprint. However, even if you’re not interested in changing your housing or transportation, there are many choices we face on a daily basis that have profound impacts on the environment. Fortunately, there are many terrific resources available to help you make informed decisions and lessen your own environmental impact.

Rad Resource: One of the best things to do is to BUY LOCAL. You reduce your ecological footprint, and you will eat healthier, while supporting your community. Find options near you at localharvest.org.

Rad Resource: The GoodGuide website provides expert rating for thousands of products (household, appliances, cars, etc.) on health, environment and social impacts to help consumers make purchasing decisions that reflect their preferences and values. iPhone owners can get a free app from the GoodGuide that allows you to scan while you shop to determine how safe, green, healthy and socially responsible different products are.

Rad Resource: Greener Choices, an initiative by the people behind Consumer Reports, offers accessible, reliable, and practical information on buying greener products that have minimal environmental impact and meet personal needs.

Rad Resource: The Center for a New American Dream is an inspiring organization working to help people reduce their consumption and focus on quality of life, environmental protection and social justice. From their mission statement: “The Center seeks to cultivate a new American dream – one that emphasizes community, ecological sustainability, and a celebration of non-material values, while upholding the spirit of the traditional American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Rad Resource: The Environmental Working Group’s guide to pesticides in produce helps you to find out which fruits and veggies are safe, and which to avoid (a.k.a. “The Dirty Dozen”).

Rad Resource: Remember to get outside and appreciate nature. Locate great hiking options wherever you wander – backpacker.com allows you to search by zip code, city, or state.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Environmental Program Evaluation Week with our colleagues in AEA’s Environmental Program Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our EPE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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