Resolve to ‘Charge Ahead’ in the new year

Jan. 04, 2014 @ 06:20 PM

It’s natural that as the calendar turns to a new year, we start to think about ways we would like to improve ourselves and our community in the year ahead.  Here’s a suggestion for your new year’s resolution:  Join the charge in making Durham a cleaner, greener place while improving your life and saving money.

 In the next month, we are launching “Charge Ahead Durham” ( -- a fun, easy way to save energy, conserve water, reduce waste and reconnect with nature.  And if that wasn’t good enough, you also can win some awesome prizes along the way!

Households that sign up to participate in this challenge will be emailed three actions or “charges” each week with information on ways you can reduce your environmental footprint.  We’ll tell you why it’s important, how to do it, what equipment you will need and how you will impact the environment.  For folks who are just starting off on “greening” their lives, this is a great way to focus on simple actions each week and see the difference you are making.  For you out there who are already far along in implementing environmental practices in your lives, this is a chance to take another step and to help others achieve what you have already accomplished.

Once you’ve taken the action or helped a friend or neighbor take the action, you report back to us with text, a photo or a video and earn points towards weekly prizes.  Prizes include beautiful LED lightbulbs from Switch, a box of organic veggies from ECO Organics, a container herb garden from Bountiful Backyards, a bike tune-up from Durham Cycles, a cooking class at Durham Spirits Company, and more.  All the points you earn over the six-month challenge enter you to win grand prizes including dinner at Piedmont and green cleaning services from Vinegar and Water (more grand prizes to be revealed along the way!).

Actions range in difficulty, cost and time involved, though many or low- or no-cost/effort habit changes. We will be tracking progress on how Durhamites collectively save energy, reduce greenhouse gases, conserve water, spend time in nature and reduce waste.  It will be exciting to see how individual efforts add up to big impacts in the community.

You can sign up at to get notified once the challenge starts. We all know that having support helps us keep those New Year’s Resolutions, so tell your friends and family in Durham to sign up, too! 

Happy New Year to all and we look forward to Charging Ahead to a Greener Durham with you in 2014.

Tobin Freid is the Durham city-county sustainability manager.  She can be reached at or 919-560-7999.  More information is at