Sustainability starts with how we think about our choices and the decisions we make every day. Consider these four key questions when starting to plan your event. Think about each question in light of your event's audience, purpose and resources to help you evaluate which of the many green choices detailed in the Green, Greener, Greenest framework will work for your events. 

Is your goal educating others about Green ideas and practices?    Do you want to prevent pollution and protect the environment?    Do you want to save money? 
  • Look to action choices that you know will succeed. It's important to encourage and motivate people as we learn together! 

  • Purpose some choices from the Green, Greener, Greenest framework that necessitate learning together. Use the Planning Tool to guide the event team's exploration of possible options. 

  • People like to know that their efforts matter. Choose options that will generate reportable, for example: 
  • Electronic communications that save a measurable amount of paper
  • Carpooling or use of group transportation that reduces the number of vehicle miles and the associated fuel use and pollutants emitted
  • Local business purchases that keep a dollar amount in your community. 

  • Work in the well-known order of  the "Three Rs" - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Look first to options that reduce waste and pollution and build from there. 

  • Budget your resources using a "Triple Bottom Line" of sustainability approach, think People, Planet, and Profit. Choose options to help your event make wise use of: 
  • Energy, water transportation, goods, and more
  • Your co-worker, family or volunteer contributions
  • Available money, donations, gifts or other sponsorships

  • Frankly, going Green with your event may add some costs. But the process of
    making decisions with Profit, People,
    and Planet as factors should all be
    important. Don't just think of "profit and loss" or "expensive and free". Changing this frame of thought leads to more sustainable decision-making all around, especially with elements like fuel, food,
    water and waste. 
Are you personally passionate about protecting the environment?    Can Green elements rally the interest of a new group of helpers in an established event? 
  • An individual "Champion" is a key component for project success! It can be hard to make Green ideas work as a solo force so don't go it alone! 

  • Engage others by exploring possible options you want to pursue. Explore the Green, Greener, Greenest framework or use the Planning Tool to help guide you and your team. Many hands, minds and hearts will help make Green work well for any event. 

  • Propose some choices from the Green, Greener, Greenest framework that necessitate learning together. Use the Planning Tool to guide the event team's exploration of possible options.
  • Sustainability has become a cultural norm in our society, even though the popularity of Green ideas still widely vary. Tapping into this stream of ideas and options can invigorate your event planning process.
  • Start with actions you know will work well, with one or two more challenging items to help you and your team establish your own Green values as a team. This will help get everybody on the same page.   

  • People like to learn new things, especially when they relate to personal or community health. Consider an element from the Planning Tool that addresses these interests and incorporate learning and education into your planning process. 

Do you know what Green services your community has?    What person-to-person resources can you secure from your community? 
  • Sustainable products and services are still often less available, and less affordable, in rural areas. Do some research to find out what services may be available before setting goals to help ensure you and your team set realistic goals for your event that will succeed.  

  • Be creative and think outside the box. Sometimes a product, service, or resource may be available but you might have to do some creative digging to get in contact with the right people.  

  • Can you barter a sponsorship for services? Positive promotion of Green-focused businesses can help you afford Greener options for your event. 
  • Personal relationships can be a huge Green power in rural communities. What relationships can you tap into to help meet your event's Green goals? 
  • If there is no business to support Green efforts for your event, can you arrange for sustainable services informally with community members? For example, if you want to compost food scraps or
    floral decorations and there is no commercial compost service in your area, a local farmer could help you by using the event "food waste" as a valuable resource for livestock or crops. 
What details make your event unique? What event components reoccur?    Are your goals realistic or stretch-goals?   How do you plan to achieve your goals? 
  • Every event has different details and a unique
    character. We experience this vividly with birthdays, weddings, and Festivals. It's also true for events like regular group meetings or annual fairs and conferences. 

  • Think carefully about your event footprint.
    Components that reoccur may offer the chance
    to measure Green growth over time. Set goals and measure changes in relation to these regular, reoccurring components to tell a complete story of your event's journey to becoming a Green event. 

  • Starting with modest goals may be your best choice, especially if sustainable ideas or practices are new to your event group and area. 

  • Demonstrating results and learning together over time about benefits of "Going Green" can help sustainability grow deep roots in group practices.

  • Think through event details and identify areas where eco-friendly approaches can be applied. This will pay off in ways that matter to anyone interested in being more sustainable: 
  • Educating others about what "green" means
  • Providing opportunities to be less wasteful
  • Demonstrating options to use material, fuel, packaging, energy, water and other resources more respectfully

  • Think carefully about how you and your event team will actually work to achieve your goals. 

  • Take a step-by-step approach to integrating Green into your overall planning process. 

  • Start with tasks that are for you, identify tasks that are right for your event team and get started.