The first thing I did before starting work was taking the BYO (Bring Your Own) pledge. By signing the pledge, I got a reusable mug that I carried every day from home to work.
I sat right by the pledge and on many days, people in our building would walk in, sign the pledge, and grab their mug. There is an electronic pledge too, which I have been sharing with my friends and family in NYC.
I’ve also been sharing about what the city is doing , such as our 80×50 goals and how we are actually aiming (and on track) for 80×35. Simple things like encouraging friends to use their organics bin and sharing proper bike riding rules might not cut our emissions significantly, but it does help our office conduct studies on how useful new bike lanes and other initiatives are.
It’s not easy though. I support the new bike lanes, but many drivers like my parents find the new lanes a disturbance and an overcrowding. This complaint comes up all the time in town halls. Explaining to NYers the big picture is important, which is one part that the Office of Sustainability does.
I worked with the external affairs team, organizing public hearings to educate local people about the reasons for new initiatives in their neighborhood, hear their concerns, and get their input. We also worked with the press and updated our social media handles, letting people know of new initiatives.