On February 8, 2013, there’s something exciting and unique happening worth mentioning to our followers from Austin. It’s called Work From Home Day and it’s a fantastic idea that allows community participation in an environmental effort to effect real change. Anyone can do it; here’s how it works.
An initiative created at the Austin area simulcast of the highly-lauded Mashable Social Good Summit in New York City on September 24, 2012 inspired a group of community activists, leaders, and socially conscious entrepreneurs gathered to discuss ways to create a sustainable impact on U.S. communities. The leading resolution passed by the Austin team supports the creation of a citywide “Work From Home (WHF)” initiative that will contribute to reducing air pollution by lowering ozone and carbon emissions.
City Councilman Mike Martinez was instrumental in getting the resolution passed by the City Council. ”Environmental issues continue to be at the forefront of our priorities in the City of Austin,” said the councilman. “These values are reflected in the Work From Home initiative. I was happy to sponsor a resolution that passed unanimously to have the City participate in the pilot program to make strides toward reducing emissions and improving our air quality in Austin.”
Additionally, Travis County has just announced its endorsement and will get many of its government employees to WFH on the 8th, and the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is also expected to give his stamp of approval this week.
Fostering clean air was among the most urgent of needs for Austin
The local summit group decided during Austin’s simulcast of the event that the focus on fostering clean air was among the most urgent of needs for Austin; hence, a self-imposed tight working timeline. “We wanted to see the fruits of our ‘good’ produce results within six months,” says Ruben Cantu of CORE Media Enterprises, one of the effort’s leaders. “It’s an ambitious timeline, but we’re an ambitious bunch in a city that likes to push harder for change than most!” In fact, Austin is the first city to actually begin implementing its commitment to the summit.
“While acting as a leader for other communities, we are planning our pilot “10,000 Cars Off the Road Day” for February 8, 2013,” says Stephen Vogelpohl of SocialGoodTV, a cause marketing firm. “On that day, we are asking everyone who possibly can to participate – especially companies that employ a large number of Austinites. This will allow a significant fraction of the work force to Work From Home, thereby causing a dramatic drop in air pollution that day.”
Austin’s leading companies and organizations are joining the Work From Home movement
The group is currently gathering support from as many companies, governmental organizations, not-for-profit organizations and NGO’s as possible, including the region’s air quality improvement organization, the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas. So far, companies like AMD, Dell, and Rackspace have made commitments to get their employees to stay home and work remotely for the day.
“We want to see what this single initiative can do for our air quality,” furthers Cantu. The impact will be measured by looking at miles saved on fuel, the number of surveys signed, and the reduction percentage of emissions. “Looking at all of these factors,” Cantu continues, “will help us establish how our efforts contribute to an improved air quality. Hopefully, the results will inspire businesses around the city to establish WHF days on their own every month, or better yet, every week or more.”
Air quality test results of the pilot day will be presented during the Social Good Summit Austin during SXSW on March 10, 2013 at City Hall, and shared with the community at-large on the Social Good Summit website. The group hopes the initiative will inspire future WFH days in Austin and other cities.
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Participating companies include (to date): AMD, City of Austin, Dell, Google, GSD&M, RackSpace, and Travis County
Companies/organizations supporting the effort include (to date): ACC, Austin Police Department, Austin Technology Council, CAMPO, CapMetro, Chambers (Greater Hispanic and Young), Clean Air Force, Movability Austin, and St. Edward’s