Elise Lind washes local green beans; Elise’s 2011 EcoChallenge was to eat only food produced in Washington and Oregon.

Chances are there’s something on your “to-do” list for the planet – whether it’s replacing the front lawn with a veggie garden, installing rain barrels, getting a bus pass or kicking the bottled water habit, most of us have something we’ve been meaning to change in order to reduce our environmental impact, save money and live better.

This October 1-15 is the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and change your life for good by joining the Northwest Earth Institute’s annual EcoChallenge.

During the EcoChallenge, participants choose one action to reduce their environmental impact and stick with it for two weeks. Ecochallengers pick a category—water, trash, energy, food or transportation—and set a goal that is fun, stretches their comfort zone and makes a difference for themselves and the planet.

Everyone who logs at least 10 successful days of the challenge or raises more than $50 is eligible for raffle prizes including gift certificates for green retailers, service providers and restaurants.

Past EcoChallenges include: not driving a car for two weeks, doing a “100 mile diet,” and cutting household trash by 80 percent.

In 2011, EcoChallenger Sarah Crump selected trash for her challenge category and carried all of her trash with her for 2 weeks. To find out what Sarah learned, what surprised her and why she loved the challenge, check out her 90-second video profile (as well as the profiles of other EcoChallengers) at: vimeo.com/nwei

Sarah Crump opens her portable trash bag; Sarah’s 2011 Ecochallenge was to carry all of her trash with her at all times.

The EcoChallenge is the perfect opportunity to move from “I should” to “I am!” Instead of struggling to change on your own, the EcoChallenge gives you built-in support from thousands of other participants and fun and easy ways to share stories with friends and family. In fact, most EcoChallengers discover that what starts as a two-week challenge becomes a lifetime of meaningful change.

Learn more and choose your challenge today at: www.ecochallenge.org

About the Northwest Earth Institute:

Based in Portland, Oregon, NWEI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire people to take responsibility for Earth. By creating dialogue and inspiring action, the Northwest Earth Institute helps people make lasting changes in their lives, communities and the planet. The EcoChallenge (launched in 2009) is our annual event to help people kick-start change and inspire friends and family.