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CROWDSOURCING SUSTAINABILITY

Steve and Heidi Frail

How the Frail’s realized going green is a no-brainer and became “Creeping environmentalists”

Steve & Heidi Frail

Steve and Heidi are the parents of two boys. Steve does marketing for engineering software and Heidi works in a hospital as an x-ray tech.

They are a couple of regular folks who have been steadily upping their sustainability game over the last couple of years…which makes them totally awesome in my book 🙂

They started off like we all do – not super conscious about sustainability. They did some things for practical reasons, like getting perennials because they don’t need to be watered as much. But like many of us, they had a colored impression of what it meant to be sustainable. Steve always hated compact fluorescent bulbs and thought economy cars just weren’t as good.

When the lawnmower broke down though, things got interesting. Steve decided to get an electric one like his neighbor had. Instead of priming and yanking the string, he turned it on with the push of a button. No fumes, quieter, easier to push, and…his kids even wanted to try it! “It was a delightful experience,” he said. It dawned on Steve that going green didn’t have to be a sacrifice. In fact, maybe it could even be better than the status quo.

Heidi and Steve became “creeping environmentalists”. Slowly, incrementally, they’ve upgraded various things that save them money and reduce their footprint. First, it was a home energy assessment, then it was solar panels, and when it was time for a new car, Heidi got the all-electric Chevy Bolt (all these things are economical now). Heidi’s reaction was similar to Steve’s lawnmower experience, “Best car I’ve ever had.” Steve, a car buff, now has one too, saying “I’m never going to buy another gas-powered car.”

“Every step has been more pleasant and delightful than we thought.”

The real turning point, however, was when Steve attended a Climate Reality Project presentation on climate change in 2017. “It was eye-popping. A real light went on. I realized this is something I have to do. I have to get involved with it now.”

Last September, Steve got accepted to Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps training. Since then he’s been giving the same presentation that made it click for him. He jokingly refers to it as his second career. When speaking, Steve tries to offset the doom and gloom with the bright side. Yes, we have to change our ways to avoid the worst, but these changes are a win-win for nearly everyone. We should want to do them even if climate change wasn’t a part of the equation. As Steve puts it, “what we have to do is f****** great! It will save a ton of lives, money, and the environment.”

In addition to the presentations, Steve also joined a group in his local community, Green Needham, to help find ways to make his town more sustainable.

Given a billboard to send a message to millions, Heidi would put up a picture of their house as an example of how desirable sustainability is. “It’d be full of flowers, entertaining lots of people, birds in the backyard.” She went on, ”People have a fear of getting started, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. It can be fun, pretty, and incremental.”

This post originally featured as a section of the What on EARTH?! sustainability newsletter.

“Inspires action and hope” – Kristin

“If sustainability is a topic you’re interested in within your business or personally, take a look and sign up for the newsletter.” – Glenn

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