Greening the Blue
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made addressing climate change a cornerstone of his tenure; throughout his work, he has called on world leaders to embrace the climate challenge, and underscored that the costs of inaction – in ecological, human and financial terms – far outweigh the costs of action now.
The Secretary-General pledged that the United Nations would help safeguard the planet by making its own in-house practices more climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable. Moreover, beyond New York, he encouraged the initiative to be included in other UN headquarters and offices around the globe.
We, United Nations staff members in New York and around the world, have also been looking for initiatives to reduce our energy consumption, and eliminating wasteful practices.
We would like to share with you the suggestions we came up with to inspire you and your colleagues to do the same. We have been able to implement some directly; others are in the works as they need formal arrangements.
Be the change: reduce, reuse, recycle!
- Use public transportation, walk or bike to work
- Carpool with friends, neighbors, and co-workers
- Promote parking availability for hybrid cars
- Purchase hybrid vehicles for your organization’s fleet
- Think before you travel, if a video conference call will suffice, spare the hassle and expense, and CO2 emissions
Buildings and infrastructure
- Practice xeriscaping [landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation]
- Install solar panels
- Allow adjustments to air conditioning in individual offices, including ability to switch it off entirely
- Outfit all bathrooms with water-saving toilets
- Provide cold water only in bathrooms
- Re-fit water fountains to remove metallic taste to deter staff members from buying bottled water
- Use reusable cups, knives and forks
- Increase resources to improve the programme to recycle old computers
- Place recycling containers on each floor
- Stipulate in the food service contract that local, organic food should be served as much as possible
- Provide paper products for take-out as opposed to plastic, aluminium or other materials
- Print only when strictly necessary
- Print double-sided
Source: UN Intranet, iSeek