Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Climate Showcase an Eye-Opening Experience

Submitted by Tyson Smith
I think anyone who knows me would say that I’m not particularly environmentally aware.  I mean, I recycle, but that’s easy.  I turn off the air conditioner when I leave my office because that makes sense to me.  But I just don’t see the big environmental picture as a priority.  I like to make jokes about “loving the earth” as a reason to do or not to do something.  I’m that kind of guy.
Naturally, then, I found it kind of a challenge to act as the point person for GHCC’s participation in the Johns Hopkins University Climate Showcase Program, a summer initiative all about building environmental sustainability in Baltimore non-profits.  Skepticism aside, this represented nearly a week of my time in meeting with two JHU interns, touring them around our building, facilitating staff-brainstorming sessions, etc.
Of course, I wouldn’t be writing about the experience if it had been a waste of time, so I’ll cut to the chase and say that GHCC’s participation in the JHU Climate Showcase was a wonderful and valuable experience.
The JHU interns who facilitated the process, Sean Murphy and Olugbenga Adeyinka, were excellent resources.  They offered practical advice, both in terms of the physical factors of environmental sustainability—how much water flows through your toilet, quality of light fixtures, etc.—and  what an agency like GHCC can do to help promote environmental sustainability in the community.
As a participant in the program, GHCC was provided with a number of resources, specifically tailored to our perspective as a community-based non-profit, about environmental sustainability.  These resources ranged from quick tips about how to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle to specific documents about buying green office supplies, home improvement supplies, etc.  We can now share this knowledge with communities throughout Greater Homewood—in fact, we’ll even be offering some tips on this blog later in the week.
Maybe the best outcome, though, was bringing all of GHCC’s programs together to have this kind of environmentally-based conversation.  Through the Climate Showcase, we gathered staff to brainstorm ways for GHCC to integrate green practices, philosophies and goals into our organizational culture.  The interns’ assessment of GHCC, I am happy to say, was that we were in pretty good shape.
And I guess the real victory here is that I learned that being environmentally conscious isn’t that arduous.  It’s relatively easy, and pretty important, so I’m going to try to increase my personal level of participation.  Thanks to Benga, Sean and to the Johns Hopkins University for this excellent opportunity!