30×30 Nature Challenge: The Challenge Within

On May 1, GreenBlue staff committed to participating in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge to spend at least 30 minutes outside for 30 days in May. We can’t believe how the month flew by, but the unanimous reaction was that our outside time was beneficial and is likely the start of many new good habits. Here are a few of our group’s reactions to all that outside time:

Office Manager Keeby Ipsan:
When I first heard of the 30 x 30 challenge, I thought it was odd that people had to be challenged to get outside for 30 minutes every day for 30 days. How can people NOT be outside for at least 30 minutes every day? So, I thought this should be an easy challenge. The being outside part was easy. However, I found it a problem to blog (even small amounts) or post photos on a daily basis. I don’t normally carry my phone or camera while I’m working in the garden or walking the dogs. Mostly because I’m afraid they would be damaged in the process. But I did manage to get in enough photos to give others a glimpse into my daily outings. I have to give credit, in part, to my dogs for insisting on a daily routine walk. Such conscientious animals. The challenge did encourage the office staff to make the most of it with trips for gelato, ice cream, or frozen yogurt. Yeah! And we enjoyed taking chairs out under the trees for lunches and breaks. I think these excursions will continue, at least until it gets cold. The bigger challenge would be getting outside every day in January or February. Anyone up for snowball fights?

Project Associate Danielle Peacock:
Participating in 30×30 made me acutely aware and appreciative of the time I spend outside. While I try to make walks a part of my daily routine, the challenge pushed me to make time for myself outside every day. It was a chance to stretch my legs, garden, reflect, and brainstorm new ideas. 30×30 also gave me a chance to reflect on how my outside time positively impacts my life. Rainy days were the hardest, but gave me opportunities to take advantage of the rocking chairs on my porch. I’ve created a routine that I will continue.

Office Hound Dog Bernie the Beagle (selected daily musings, as transcribed by Senior Manager Minal Mistry):
May 4 – Mud salamander, Cold and slick, Splash in the creek.
May 14 – Western storm cloud, Grey and black, Sunbeam splits the dark.
May 22 – Two dove babies, One thrasher too, Each awaits mother’s beak.
May 26 – Azure blue sky, In cool of night, Firefly in May!

Project Associate Eric DesRoberts:
We donated our car (for safety reasons) about 6 months before the 30×30 challenge, at which point a 25 minute commute to work turned into a 2.5 hr public transit adventure through the metro DC area for my better half. We had always planned to get another vehicle, and last month that time came.

We put in a lot of time researching vehicles, dealerships, customer reviews, etc. but when it came time to check them out in person, the question became how are we going to get there? Think about all of the car dealerships in your area – could you walk to them? Would you feel safe or want to walk to them? Does it sound outrageous for someone to walk to a car dealership (as we did) looking to buy a car? It shouldn’t – you buy a car because you don’t have one (or something along those lines). At the same time, it does sound a little outrageous when you consider the patchwork of occasional crosswalks, walking signs, and sidewalks that suddenly end and leave you stranded or forced to cross 4, 6, or 8 lane intersections with traffic islands that have been replaced with turn only lanes.

The walkability of many of the communities I have recently lived in is not for the faint of heart. This is not the fault of town planners or city officials. I think that it largely reflects our preferences. We prefer an extra vehicle lane over a wider sidewalk, we prefer a parking lot grid to an overgrown field. Nature has become the stuff on the perimeter of these things – sometimes it is harder to find the nature than it is to find the time to enjoy it.

Read more about our experience with the 30×30 Nature Challenge.

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