A rain barrel installed as part of my personal EcoChallenge

This was a record year for our EcoChallenge. A total of 1533 individuals participated–more than 3 times the total from the previous two years combined! As always, we were amazed and inspired by the stories of change, and thought we’d share a few of the insights we enjoyed this year:

  • In his challenge to spend less time in front of the computer, college student Benjamin Guy found that “screens just seem to occupy so much of our livelihood. We need to be able to maintain a certain amount of distance so that we can appreciate the things around us instead of images of those things.”
  • EcoChallenger Susan Joseph Rack found an unexpected insight in her transition to CFL light bulbs: “Some time ago, I noticed a pang of impatience when I turned on a light and the CFL bulb hesitated a second before going on. Now I hardly notice it. I find that that brief hesitation slowed me down a bit, has taught me that rushing is not necessary. A simple blessing from a CFL bulb.”
  • And new bike commuter Greg Karpicus discovered that “there is a big difference between preaching about going green and actually following through. One makes you sweatier but it is so much more rewarding.”

We are particularly grateful for the incredible participation by Multnomah County employees – in all, 565 individuals from 50 different Multnomah County teams took on the EcoChallenge!

We also loved sharing the insights, humor, photos and recipes of our Featured Bloggers – Courtney Carver, Bill Gerlach, Shelly Randall, Stacey Ho, Lauren Savaglio and Kathleen McDade. Visit the Featured Bloggers page to explore their words of wisdom.

This year’s challenge brought home the power of story in helping to shift our individual and collective behaviors toward the future we aspire to. Stories make change more personal, more doable and–in the end–shape our culture and become the norm for how life can be lived. Thank you to all who participated in the EcoChallenge for your inspiring work and I’m looking forward to creating more stories of change with each of you!

If you were not able to join us in the EcoChallenge this year, mark your calendars for October 1-15, for EcoChallenge 2012.