How one short TEDTalks video shared on social media is changing my footprint.

I haven’t seen a lot of TEDtalks videos that truly have an impact on my everyday life and certainly my dedication to ISO14001 has changed since I shifted my professional focus to social media. I was drawn to social media early 2008 because I could see environmentalists using their own small communities on Facebook and Twitter to leapfrog major brands (before brands started “communities” and before they could have Pages), but one day recently while surfing Twitter I came across this video and have found it actually changed my daily behavior and is helping to reduce my impact on the environment. (Video on read more)

It’s funny we all know the three Rs of environmentalism: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle but even to someone like myself (a girl raised on an organic farm of an environmentalist mom), it seems like the culture of environment concerns have started to take a back seat. Myself, I struggled with the economic downturn beginning in 2008 and starting my own business and found I had to stop buying local and organic foods, while others self-employed and transitioning have said “I just don’t want to give up my car!” Now four years later, it seems like the game has changed from giving more so that I can take less (environmentalism) to looking for the best savings for the most feel-good flavour and take-home volume. A big bag of chips or cookies on sale is mighty appealing when splurging on organic yummy nutritious feel-good foods just isn’t in the budget.

And then there’s the consideration of the environment. While my daily focus has changed, the acceleration and deterioration of our environment hasn’t. Until I saw Joe Smith’s funny, short, empowering TEDtalks video, I didn’t think there was much I could do.

For the last few months instead of working from my home office I’ve been working with a technology company as their full-time community manager, preparing for the launch of their new iPad app cafe moba. Three or four times a day I head to the washroom for a bio break and each time I wash my hands. And to be quick about it, I grab 3 or 4 paper towels, get my hands dry and leave the room. But now I “shake and fold”, using only 1 paper towel per visit.

According to Joe Smith, I’m contributing to NOT USING a total of 571,230,000 pounds of paper towels (in the USA), every year, if each person takes up this new game. What about you?

It takes a little bit of reminding to slow down for 12 shakes and just one paper towel, but I firmly believe the key to making this a commonplace activity for people is the sharing on social media. If you want to remember to do it, share this video with your friends, during the day, on weekends and at night.

True to the TED tagline, this video really is “Ideas worth spreading”.

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