Monday, November 28, 2011

Enough With The Black Friday Deals!

Having been blasted by "Black Friday" advertising from every possible source all weekend long, I arrived at my desk today with a renewed commitment to make sure our meetings support the environment and not destroy it. I found this list, which works equally well for the upcoming holidays and purchases we make on behalf of our organizations and events, and share it here...

1. Is this purchase something I need?

2. Do I already own something that will serve the same purpose?

3. Can I borrow one instead of buying new?

4. Can I make something that will serve the same purpose?

5. Can I buy a used one?

6. Would someone be willing to split the cost and share this with me?

7. Can I buy or commission one made locally?

8. Can I buy one that was made with environmentally responsible materials?

9. Can I buy one that serves more than one purpose?

10. Can I get something human powered instead of gas or electric?

11. Can I compost or recycle it when I’m done with it?

12. What is the impact on the environment of the full life cycle of it?

13. Does the manufacture or disposal of it damage the environment?

The full article, Get on board the non-consumption train, is available here for your reading enjoyment while standing in the checkout line.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Change Feels Good...Yes, It Does!

Join me as I enjoy the colorful beauty and bounty of this season and give thanks for the remarkable changes orchestrated in the world of sustainable meetings. You might even feel inspired to take note of changes this past year and share your gratitude--that is what I do here today.

I am so very thankful for...

  • The continued growth of GMIC with chapters throughout the world and a leadership propelling us to the next level in environmentally and socially conscious meetings
  • The MeetGreen team that partners with organizations on award-winning events using the Earth's resources wisely
  • Our clients who allow us to "play in their sandbox" and influence sustainability with their buying power
  • Fellow change makers, like yourself, who believe passionately in making the meetings industry more sustainable and our future opportunities
  • Those intrepid committee and panel members who are bringing forward standards for the rest of us
  • Students who have made green meetings a part of their research or thesis and will be the next true leaders of this movement
  • Hotels, conference centers, sports venues and meeting facilities who have embraced green in a big way seeing both the economic and environmental benefits
  • My blog followers who have doubled in size this year and help keep me motivated to learn and share more
  • And to Mother Nature herself, who reminds me how important this work is with a flutter of a bird's wings on the breeze, the damp musky smell of the forest, and the sun warming my upturned face.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NOT Your New Year's Resolution

Why wait until next year to develop your organization's sustainability policy? You know you are going to need it when those pesky APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings Standards are launched. Eight of nine are poised to be published anytime now, so be ahead of the game.

Procrastinating is fun but not very rewarding, so I challenge you to mark this task off your to-do list by the end of the year. Then, with a clear conscience, you can stick to your normal yearly resolutions made with such sincerity on January 1st...lose weight, watch less TV, learn to play the bagpipes, spend more time with the family, and join the circus (or run for public office).

If you need a template to get you started, feel free to use this one

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Dog Ate It

Just when you thought you had heard it all, Shawna McKinley filed this report post EventCamp Vancouver...

A note we received from an attendee from Washington state:
"Just wanted to tell you where my lanyard ended up. Needed a new shoe lace as my dog seemed to have chewed it up. It did not matter that it was not the fashion statement only that it solved the problem and made it able for me to walk and work. I believe that this was what the meeting was all about solving problems so that we can all achieve our objectives and maybe evening doing them in a green fashion."

I have now officially "heard it all."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Musings of a Virtual Attendee

There I was in my bunny slippers lounging on the couch this weekend just back from the BSR 2011 Conference. My schedule didn't allow me to attend EventCamp Vancouver in person and I didn't want to miss it, so virtual I was. Laptop on my lap (I get that term now) I was streaming the content, engaging in the 1000 Acts of Green game, and tweeting away.

How was it?, you ask. Fantastic! I felt as if I were actually in the room contributing to the discussion, networking and learning! The only time I was left out was during the coffee break, but then I just I went to my kitchen, poured myself a cup and settled back into the couch.

Here are some of my musings you might find useful when developing your hybrid event:

  • Make the technology as simple as possible. Participants shouldn't have to fight the technology to get to the content.
  • Hire both an MC and a Virtual Concierge, the remote audience needs both to feel included.
  • Ask the virtual folks to ask questions or provide answers during the sessions.
  • Make sure the game (if applicable) is relevant to both audiences. The game app at EventCamp Vancouver worked famously.
  • Start on time, no matter what. Otherwise, we don't have anyway of knowing if our systems are working.
  • Consider including "pods" (small groups meeting together in a different city and attending virtually). This gives people even more of a community feeling. My husband and daughter refused to be part of my couch pod...just saying.
  • Do small breakout group work when the camera is off or determine a way (Skype) to include the virtual audience members in the groups.
  • Film and publish some of the silly stuff too that happens during a conference so remote guests are in on the joke the next day. Loved the late night singing captured on You Tube!
Now, I am usually an conference organizer and not a participant, so this was a new role for me. The weekend of learning was essential and provides me with a true comprehension of the virtual attendee experience.

Best of all, I didn't have to get dressed, go to the airport, go through "security theater," fly, check into a hotel or get to the venue. And to top it off my remote footprint avoided enough carbon dioxide emissions to fill 110,000 party balloons! That is a win both environmentally and economically as well as allowing me to spend time at home. Your participants will love it too!

photo courtesy of

Friday, November 4, 2011

1000 Acts of Green

Those of you who are familiar with ‘green’ events know there is a lot of pressure on the planner and supplier to make more sustainable choices. Many of these decisions are invisible to attendees for the most part: recycled content in carpets, water conserving fixtures, kitchen composting, local purchasing, etc. EventCamp Vancouver’s goal is to shift the focus to empower attendees to notice these efforts by suppliers and planners and to make sustainable choices themselves. We believe that through individual acts of green by attendees, that the choices planners and suppliers make can be amplified to make an even bigger difference. Not only in terms of footprint, but maybe more importantly in terms of legacy, such as the charity challenge dropped today.

The “Get Your Green on Game” helps to reinforce the very important personal actions of our attendees. The game has also been designed to encourage attendees to “Stop, look and listen” and by doing so, they will be rewarded with additional points. Looking at our surroundings with fresh eyes, through a green lens, noticing all of the great sustainable actions (perhaps for the first time) that have been undertaken by our collaborators, is important.

Want to play along? Get Your Green On is LIVE this weekend!

That’s right. The challenge is on to find the greenest camper at EventCamp Vancouver! Remote and onsite registrants can play by downloading the event application from the iTunes store (if you use an iPad or iPhone) or going to the mobile web site (for laptop and other mobile device users). Log in with your previously emailed username and password. Detailed instructions on how to play are found here, as well as in the Game tab in the app.

Game Legacy Challenge Announced!

EventCamp Vancouver game-players have been challenged to collectively perform 1000 Acts of Green over the course of the event. To provide extra motivation they also announced that for every individual Act of Green toward this goal MeetGreen will contribute $1 to the BC Cancer Foundation. MeetGreen® also challenges other meeting professionals in the #eventprofs community to match their donation! If you want to respond to the fundraising challenge let us know in the #ECV11 Twitter community.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BSR Shares Event Sustainability Initiative

This week finds one of our teams at the Business for Social Responsibility Conference. It wonderful to hear the words "sustainability" and "environment" spoken in nearly every conversation in hallways, sessions and meals. There are so many passionate individuals gathered to work together to change our world, I am honored to be here.

Producing a sustainable meeting which nourishes and supports participants is vital to a successful outcome. In the spirit of transparency and storytelling, BSR publishes a partial list of sustainability initiatives for the 2011 Conference. This webpage may help you in developing your own