Today marks the last official day of the 2010 EcoChallenge.  I say the last “official” day because many people will continue on with their individual eco-challenges.  Which is exactly what we we were hoping for!  The EcoChallenge event is an opportunity to try out a new sustainable behavior (or two or three), and our goal is for participants to have the “aha!” moment where they realize that their new behavior has become a new habit.  There are many things we can’t control in this world, and the EcoChallenge is an opportunity to examine the flip side of that coin–the things we can control.

This October we had 103 individual EcoChallengers and 39 teams participate in the 2010 EcoChallenge.  The EcoChallenge is a fundraiser for the Northwest Earth Institute–and just as importantly, it’s an awareness-raiser for sustainable living.   We had nearly 300 people total taking on a sustainability challenge during the two weeks of the EcoChallenge event–and many of these individuals will continue to live a lower impact lifestyle thanks to their challenge becoming a new habit.  Our goal is for the end of the EcoChallenge to be the beginning of new habits, for the EcoChallenge participants and those who they inspire with their actions.  When we talk to participants from past EcoChallenges they very frequently say “I’m still doing my challenge!” and even better is when they say “I’m still doing my challenge–and I inspired my friend/neighbor/coworker to act too!”.

On the fundraising side, we have many successes to report this year.  First and foremost, we owe a very big Thank You to the amazing volunteers who signed up to participate in the EcoChallenge and helped us raise over $15,000 so far! This year the entire staff of the Northwest Earth Institute participated in the EcoChallenge and stepped up with impressive energy and inspiring results– a very big thank you to my coworkers! (While the event ends today, the website is still up and running and accepting pledges, see here for some pledge making inspiration too).

The funds raised during the EcoChallenge will support NWEI’s efforts to develop new sustainability education programs, and bring those programs to communities across the United States.  Every day we hear about an exciting new group, school, or business participating in one of our discussion course programs, and the EcoChallenge is both a complement to our discussion courses–and a funding stream to make them possible.   Thank you to everyone who played a role in making the 2010 EcoChallenge a success! (and if you weren’t able to participate as an EcoChallenger but still want to play a role in the EcoChallenge, there’s still plenty of time to make a small pledge and show your support.)