Sustainability HQ: Smog and Loathing in Los Angeles
I didn’t need a car for the 4 years I lived in Berkeley, so moved to LA without one. Oops. I thought that public transit and my legs would be viable options on the west side. Nope. Dependent on my roommate and Enplug teammate, whom I am eternally grateful for, I was transported around for my first two months in this widespread city. I had guys pick me up for dates, and even got to ride on the back of a motorcycle for the first time. It wasn’t too bad. I often felt like an inconvenience, but I became great at coordinating plans. In the back of my head I knew that I was saving money and reducing my carbon footprint (relative to other Los Angeles dwellers), and that all seemed like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t anyone carpool? But low and behold, most of the cars I see on the road are occupied by a lonesome, single body.
When Enplug established headquarters in Culver City (a short 9 minute drive down the 405 from the infamous Enplug House), I noticed that everyone in the house drove their own car to the office. I was extremely confused. Why on earth would everyone take separate cars back and forth to the same destinations? When I first inquired, I was hit with a myriad of excuses. They all sounded extraneous to me.
You’re familiar with the marketing phrase “be above the influence,” right? I could have stuck up my nose to look down on my gas guzzling teammates polluting the city of angels, but I decided to be the influence instead. I took it upon myself as one of my house-motherly duties to encourage carpooling on a regular basis, especially to and from the office. After sharing my thoughts on the matter multiple times, I slowly opened up the minds of my counterparts.
This past Monday morning something amazing happened. I walked out of the Enplug House, and noticed that five people had already left to the office, but only one car was missing. I was profusely overjoyed. Now I know that may sound a little silly to some, but it was a big deal. At that moment I realized that I finally got through to them. My eco-conscious ways had seeped into their brains!
It has become common knowledge (I hope) that carpooling and car-sharing have environmental, economical, and social benefits, including but not limited to: carbon emission reduction, money saved, and traffic reduction. So if you find yourself all alone in your car most of the time, ask yourself how you can improve the situation. There are dozens of options out there from hopping into a car with your roommates/significant other/best friend/coworkers to more professional services like eRideShare and ZimRide. Now get on it, and start making a difference.
Sustainability HQ is a weekly series with stories, tips and tricks for how to make your business and office space more sustainable. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, stories, or ideas!
Enplug digital signage software was co-founded by CEO Nanxi Liu and CTO Tina Denuit-Wojcik in 2012 to enable organizations to use customized real-time streaming content to create engaging external and internal communications.