How to Enjoy the Holidays with Less Stress and Less Stuff

The holiday season is quickly approaching. Yet too often, the holidays—meant to be a time of peace, reflection, and celebration—exhaust us rather than uplift us. Our friends at New Dream have created a variety of resources designed to help people escape the shopping, spending, and frenzied preparations that have become synonymous with the winter holidays.

At NWEI, we’re always looking for inspiration and helpful tips on how to plan holiday celebrations that reduce stress, waste, and expense. In the spirit of our newest course book, A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World,  we want to emphasize meaning over material goods, strengthen relationships, and build community. Each year, New Dream offers resources to support a more meaningful and simple holiday season – and we’re excited to share them with you here as we head into Thanksgiving this week.

Ready to enjoy the holidays with less stress and less stuff? Check out these New Dream resources:

Invite your family and friends to wrap their holidays in more of what matters—meaning, connection, and joy—and less of what doesn’t (stuff, stress, and waste). We at NWEI are wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving this week – and a holiday season that is meaningful, memorable, and rejuvenating!



Join Our Next Webinar, November 15th

After completing Northwest Earth Institute’s annual October EcoChallenge, participants often ask “How can we go deeper?” or “What are the next steps for me personally, or for my organization?” or “How can I keep my team engaged?” Whether you’ve just completed the annual October EcoChallenge or not, we hope you’ll join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, November 15th. During this 30 minute webinar, we’ll be focusing on engagement resources for sustainability education and action, highlighting NWEI’s suite of offerings and suggesting ways that you can spark or continue momentum in your community.

During this webinar you’ll learn about how you can use Northwest Earth Institute’s suite of offerings to take engagement and action to the next level in your community or organization. We will give an overview of NWEI’s sustainability discussion course books, which offer a deeper dive into issues like energy, climate, food choices and organizational sustainability. We’ll also share how the EcoChallenge can be customized at any time during the year for your business, college or organization, including via our new year-round Campus EcoChallenge.

This webinar will be held Wednesday, November 15th at 9am PST/12pm EST. Click here to register.


EcoChallenge 2017: Our Most Successful Challege To Date

                                                                           A snapshot of our collective impact

Last week marked the ending of our 9th annual EcoChallenge. We engaged a record 12,214 participants across 639 teams from
83 countries! By all accounts, it was our most successful challenge ever. Thousands of EcoChallengers in schools, communities, and businesses took action on the most important environmental and social issues, and inspired others to join in the fun. We hope the
EcoChallenge experience resulted in habits that add up to a lifetime of positive change. You can check out our Collective Impact and learn more about this year’s EcoChallenge via our event summary here.

Thank you to all the teams who participated – and a huge congratulations to the top five EcoChallenge Teams: Sustainable Saints (Mt. Hood Community College), Rob Greenfield Team,  Ecova AllStars (Ecova), Delran Middle School in New Jersey, and AMD Green Team (Advanced Micro Devices). This year surpassed previous collective impact stats – including diverting over 131,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, saving over 350,000 gallons of water, tracking over 9,000 carpool miles and writing or calling over 500 public officals about issues we care about. We also volunteered over 1,400 hours in our local communities.

CITI Green Team EcoChallengers complete a Highway Clean Up project

We often hear at the end of EcoChallenge, “How can I go deeper?” or “What are the next steps for me personally or for my organization?” We invite you to continue your EcoChallenges – and to continue creating new positive habits. We also invite you to consider the next steps for effecting change in your community or organization. Join us for a special webinar on November 15th to learn how NWEI’s offerings can take your EcoChallenge and momentum to the next level. 

We leave you with just a few of the many inspiring quotes from this year’s EcoChallenge. “EcoChallenge pushed me to learn more. I consider myself fairly aware of my habits and their effects, but I learned how much more I could be doing,” shared one EcoChallenger in reflection. Another EcoChallenger shared, “The big take away for me is mindfulness. It is important to think about how you want to be a good environmental steward, even in the small things you do every day.” We couldn’t agree more.


EcoChallenge Day 15: Last Day of EcoChallenge 2017

 A roundup of photos shared by EcoChallengers this week

Today is the final day of EcoChallenge 2017 – so if you haven’t logged your actions, today is the day! As the day winds down, we have 12,190 participants on 638 teams participating. We’ve saved over 120,000 pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere, and conserved over 330,000 gallons of water. We’ve eaten over 16,000 meatless meals, and written over 400 letters or emails to public officials about issues we care about. We’ve also helped over 1,100 people and volunteered over 1,300 hours in our communities. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated or supported this year’s EcoChallenge. You can check out the impact we’ve made here.

EcoChallenger Zachariah Strife (on the Portland Community College Eco Panters team) says it well. “I can’t believe the challenge is almost over. As the formal challenge winds down, I am looking for ways to incorporate some of the habits I chose for the challenge into my everyday life going forward. Obviously we can’t carry all of our trash with us all the time or sign a petition every day, but there are a lot of small changes we can make to live more sustainable lives. Ecochallenge did a great job of highlighting some of the simple actions we can take to live better.”

John Leary gets ready to install solar power

EcoChallenger John Leary of the Trees for the Future EcoChallenge team is also finishing strong today. He tweeted: “Installing #solar might place me in the Top 20 of over 12,000 people competing in the #EcoChallenge!” Anita Bailey-Huff shared, “This challenge is almost over, and I am kind of sad, but I am also glad I am able to incorporate some new things into my daily routine.” Amber Node, team captain of the Hennebery Eddy Architects EcoChallenge team shared, “Happy EcoChallenge Day! At the last minute I decided to add one more daily challenge in health and happiness: showing gratitude and appreciation every day. I can already tell this was a great addition, and I am THANKFUL for the EcoChallenge for reminding me how important it is to be thankful.”

We are so thankful for you, the EcoChallenge and Northwest Earth Institute community, for coming along on this year’s EcoChallenge journey! As Shastan Jee shared today, “Final day of the challenge – but let’s keep it up for a lifetime!”

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