Conservation Conversation: Family Footprint Challenge Launching March 2018

By Brianna van de Wijngaard, Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society –

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society is excited to announce its newest project for 2018, and we think it’s quite fitting for the first GreenGazette issue of the year: if you’re an aspiring greenie with New Year’s resolutions yet to fill, this may be for you. We call it the Family Footprint Project. Here’s how it works:

We wanted to launch a project that is both super engaging and fun, and that also rewards community members for making the effort to incorporate more Water and Waste Wise changes into their daily lives. Making lifestyle changes that are more water and waste-conscious is not often easy, especially in the beginning: they can take more time, effort, and even money to do at first, and it can take time before you see the benefits. But those benefits can absolutely translate into healthier living and money saved, and we wanted to find a way to highlight the rewards and challenges that come with a cleaner lifestyle, and how to make them successful.

Some of you may remember when we were lucky enough to host two Vancouver-based filmmakers and screen their latest production back in 2014, called Just Eat It. This film was written and produced by Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer, and explored the issue of food waste from the farm to our fridge. But before Just Eat It, Grant and Jenny wrote, produced, and starred in another documentary called The Clean Bin Project. This documentary followed Grant and Jenny for an entire year of waste reduction, right down to the last twist tie. They challenged each other to reduce their waste production, with amazing insight into how much waste we produce, where it comes from, and the challenges that come with trying to find alternatives. And it was also hilarious!

We thought it would be interesting to do the same here in Williams Lake. Every community is different. They all have different waste streams and management systems, water resources, and options for cleaner living available to them. We wondered what would it be like for a family to try to do something similar here in Williams Lake. What kinds of challenges and successes would they encounter, and how could we help them to adopt some of those changes, and make it as easy as possible?

So, we came up with the Family Footprint Project, and we are now looking for a keen family up for the challenge. The idea behind the project is similar: we will conduct water and waste audits at the beginning and end of the project, and for the three months in between the project family will implement a list of Water and Waste Wise challenges in their home. We will follow their progress throughout the three months by doing bi-weekly five-minute video interviews on each of the water and waste challenges we have given them, to see how things are going. We will then post each five-minute video interview on our Youtube channel.

The best part? Amazing perks! The chosen family will receive a number of tools they get to keep beyond the project to help them reduce their water and waste consumption, including a low-flow faucet, low-flow shower head, a clothesline, a set of recycling bins, a compost bucket, and a household water metre. All valued at over $1400.

Our main goal with this project is to highlight how easy it can be to make some of these changes in our households, by discussing the challenges along the way and finding solutions … and making it super fun! If you and your family are interested in being our awesome, proactive sustainability guinea pigs, all you have to do is submit a five-minute video entry telling us why you think you should improve your family footprint. Give us a call or an email to find out the best way to get your video to us, and stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details!

Brianna van de Wijngaard is the community liaison for the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society in Williams Lake, BC, working on various Water and Waste Wise-related projects and events in the community. Visit https://www.ccconserv.org to learn more about our education programs or community projects.

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