Cool Choices Quarterly Newsletter April 2013
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Outcomes Newsletter April 2013

Sustainable Insight

“I make a more conscientious effort – thinking before walking out (of the office) and leaving all the lights on. It’s also carried on through what we do at home....”
Carol S., Boardman & Clark player

Daffodils and butterflies

Spring Letter

Kathy Kuntz
Executive Director

This year’s slow spring contrasts with last year’s unseasonably warm weather – and I’ve found myself talking to people who can’t wait for warm weather. Often I hear, “So much for global warming….”
It is frustrating that a single cool spring overturns memories of record-breaking warm temperatures the previous four or five seasons. As Daniel Kahneman illustrates in Thinking Fast and Slow, we focus on evidence supporting our beliefs and, when it comes to climate change, most of us want to believe it won’t be as bad as experts predict and that other entities (big industry, fossil fuel interests, China) are mostly to blame. Indeed, many of us think our own actions are too small to matter (getting us off the hook for action).

On May 9th I’ll participate in a Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters panel discussion Barriers to Addressing Our Climate and Energy Challenges. My co-panelists, University of Wisconsin-Madison distinguished faculty Sharon Dunwoody and Dietram Scheufele, will talk about social and informational hurdles to addressing climate change—the human foibles prompting us to focus on today’s cool temperatures rather than the warming trends of decades.

On the panel—and in climate change efforts more broadly—Cool Choices offers a promising strategy for engaging and inspiring action. In this newsletter we detail new game initiatives as well as verified outcomes from earlier games. It’s great sharing this news with you because it’s so hopeful! Using the lessons from experts like Dunwoody, Scheufele and Kahneman, we are helping folks reframe sustainability as something social – and fun!

I hope you will join us on May 9 (the event is free but pre-registration is encouraged). More, I hope our work inspires you to adopt new sustainable practices. As we say all the time “you can get points for that!”

Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin and Cool Choices Logos with plus sign

Green & Healthy Schools

“We as a family love playing this game! Just to see different ideas that all of us come up with to save energy and recycle is amazing!”

Sustainable Fox Valley school player
Wisconsin’s Green & Healthy Schools (GHS) program recognizes and assists public and private PK-12 schools in their efforts to create safe, healthy and resource-efficient learning environments that prepare students for our next generation of leaders. The program is a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education.
Aware of Cool Choices’ work making sustainability fun, social and easy in corporate workplaces, the GHS team met with us.  Learn more about our exciting news!

Graph of Level of Individual Savings Activity (pre- and post-game)

Talk About Results!

How much do people save just by changing their behavior? 

Do savings persist after the game?

Read more Talk About Results!
Girl pointing to thermostat adjustment to save energy
Great Game Updates
We're in the final week of fun with Sustainable Fox Valley schools and just completed a great game with Boardman & Clark. Demo games are done with the Milwaukee Fire Department and Menasha Corporation – and we'll play full games with them soon, along with UW Extension and Fond du Lac City & County. Exciting Green & Healthy Schools game development continues. [See story in this newsletter]
Boardman and Clark LLP employees at Cool Choices presentation

Consulting & Training

“I never understood the impact I could make.  I’m more careful [now] about water use, and more careful to recycle….”

Lee T.
Boardman & Clark

Cool Choices helps companies engage employees around sustainability through our fun, social and easy game format.  The game helps demonstrate that sustainability is a shared value – photos of co-workers taking sustainable actions shifts individual perceptions of corporate social norms. Ultimately that shift can help create a culture where sustainability is the norm, leading to other business-level innovations and opportunities over time.
As we interact with companies, though, it is clear that our expertise in motivating change can also help businesses address specific in-facility issues. We talk with sustainability managers who seek employee motivation strategies for following recycling guidelines, turning off unused equipment, or thinking strategically about resource issues.
Cool Choices’ techniques—like catching people doing the right things and celebrating those actions—are as effective on the factory floor as they are inside our engagement game. We are excited, then, to announce that Cool Choices is now offering one-on-one consulting and training assistance to help companies use proven change management strategies to motivate sustainable practices at their business.
Contact Kathy Kuntz to learn more!

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