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Making bigger choices a little tinier

By Karina | May 4, 2011

I mentioned before that I’m helping out with my companies Better Way to Work week – and between that and the increases in gas prices, I’ve been trying to think of more creative ways to convince people to give a new thing (like public transit, carpooling, or even just avoiding plastic bottles) a shot. I realized this week that by breaking the choices down into smaller bits, it’s way easier for people to engage – and hopefully they’ll find that after taking that first step, the next one is much easier!

As they say – “The longest journey starts with a single step.”

So I’ve thought of a few ways that we can help to make a big choice look a little smaller by breaking it into steps – things like:

These are just a few, I bet there are lots more. What are some big choices YOU’VE been able to break down into smaller pieces?

[[Photo by flickr user moyogo via creative commons license.]]

Topics: Activism, Transportation | 7 Comments »

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Comment by Gimpy
2011-05-04 13:35:45

Sort of going with your first idea on commuting: If you still have to drive, try to pick a central location to park and walk to different destinations — like when shopping, instead of driving and parking in front of each store. That’s assuming if destinations are within a safe walkable distance of each other. Try to pick a place where stores or other businesses are conveniently located near each other.

(Also, I think you meant “public” up there. I had to read your sentence twice because that spelling kind of threw me off at first, LOL.)

Great post in the true spirit of your blog!

Comment by Karina
2011-05-04 13:55:47

OH MY GOSH! the public/pubic error! thank you for catching it – I can’t believe I missed it when proof reading.

and the central walking point is great! and especially relevant in this land of strip malls.

Comment by Denise Dukette
2011-05-04 19:54:28

I am a virtual assistant – I do “secretary stuff” for folks (primarily consultants) from the creature comforts of my home office. So having significantly reducing my commuting, I wanted to do more to be more eco-friendly. Since I am so ingrained into the lives of my clients, they get to hear all my tips and things I have learned along the way .. and was really surprised at how many have adopted a greener life. Now if I could assure them that they don’t need to fly everywhere!

In 2008, I began the transition to being paperless. My first baby step was to go through all the paper I had in the house. There had never been a lot, but over the years, I had accumulated a variety of colored paper (about 10″), which I donated to the local no-kill Human Society. They cut up the sheets for note taking. I also donated all my Post-its to them.

The next hurdle was to get off catalog mailing lists and getting their info online. After all, I order everything online, so why should I get a paper catalog only to turn around and go online to see if there’s “anything else I might need” while placing an online order? On average, I was receiving 2″ of catalogs each weekday from Thanksgiving until Christmas, let alone the rest of the year. I ripped the address page of the catalog out, scanned the address section and sent an email (or fax via email) explaining that I no longer wanted the paper catalog, but to please include my email address to their emailing lists. L.L. Bean was even nice enough to reply with a confirmation that it was completed. Next step was researching and signing up for came paperless billing and bank statements.

The next real hurdle came with notes. Silly, now that I have no paper in the house I needed something to scratch a random note on. For those bills that cannot be paperless, those cut cut up and the blank backsides are used for scratch notes. Any random adverts that come to the house get the same treatment, right after I email the responsible sender to stop mailing stuff to the house.

My ultimate weakness is Netflix and I haven’t found a similarly priced method. With each mailer, I have a bit to recycle every time and hope that Netflix is also recycling their returned mailers. Yes, I know I could do streaming, but as I rip my rentals, I have gotten a pretty large video collection that I can access anytime. Most streaming sites have content for a limited time.

Comment by Jonathan
2011-05-04 22:28:28

The same logic applies to bike commuting – instead of swearing off the internal combustion engine for good, why not start with one day per week of biking?

Comment by Gimpy
2011-05-05 06:17:41

Or do what some of my coworkers have done: drive in from the suburbs and then bike around the city once you get there.

Comment by irondad
2011-05-09 16:24:50

Perhaps you should adopt a sub-title for your blog. Making Tiny Choices by taking a series of Tiny Steps!

I believe you are spot on with breaking it down for people this way.

2011-05-09 21:33:58

Thanks Irondad! I think people are more receptive, too, if they don’t hear that it’s an all-or-nothing endeavor to be green.


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