Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011: Underscoring NeighborWorks America’s Green Commitment

by Michelle Winters,
Senior Manager, Green Strategies,
NeighborWorks America

On this Earth Day 2011, it’s time to step back and look at how far we have come in our green practices. Over the past year, NeighborWorks America has moved forward with a variety of initiatives to support the environmental efforts of the NeighborWorks network and nonprofit housing and community development since Earth Day 2010. Among these is the recent national symposium – Green Choices, Green Value: For the Communities and Families We Serve – where green issues ranging from the health implications of green building, sustainable community planning and organizing efforts, and the benefits of green jobs were discussed and debated. In addition, NeighborWorks America has expanded its offering of green courses – offered both on-line and at the NeighborWorks Training Institutes – providing nonprofit developers and community leaders with up-to-date information on environmentally friendly practices.

Our network organizations are leaders in green building, but their commitment to greening stretches beyond the bricks and mortar to all of their programs and the families that they serve. NeighborWorks America supports incorporating green strategies into all business lines and in the day-to-day operations of the organizations because of the financial, social, and environmental benefits that greening can bring. We believe that green housing and education can help residents thrive in their homes and communities, and that comprehensive green strategies are the best way to deliver these benefits. For more see news release.

Within our organization, we are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint, and in honor of Earth Day our staff have also stepped up and pledged ways they can individually make a difference toward a greener work and home environment. These include everyday things that can have a large impact when taken as a whole, like using reusable mugs and water bottles, recycling, and using public transportation more often. Some are going further with things like composting, bicycling to work, installing rain barrels, and volunteering at local recycling facilities.

A year from now, we anticipate more successes to share with you in the green arena, the kind of changes that reduce our impact in the environment while creating more green jobs and sustainable communities.