We can all agree that 2020 was a difficult year, and with the New Year rolling around we all hope 2021 will be a better year than the last. Since this is the time for resolutions and new commitments for personal growth, we thought we would help to inspire some new habits that are good for you and good for the planet. This is why POW is introducing the 12 month challenge. This year-long campaign will feature one challenge for every month; each designed to help you build some new habits, kick bad habits to the curb, or to reinforce good habits that you already have! With incentives like reducing your carbon footprint and amazing prizes from our sponsors- what’s not to join?
Before we dive into this year, here’s a refresher on what habits are how we can adapt them to live more sustainably.
There are many specific definitions of what a habit is, in general, it can be said that a habit is a behavioural pattern that we repeat at regular intervals, such that the repetition serves to improve our ability and familiarity with the behavioural pattern. Typically, if the behavioural pattern is repeated often enough, it becomes so ingrained in our daily lives that we carry it out with little to no conscious thought. It goes without saying that there are good and bad habits, and that we all have some of each come and go in our daily lives.
Habits are formed through repetitive behaviours, driven by what experts call a habit-loop. Put simply, a habit-loop is a way to describe the three most basic components of a habit: cue, behaviour, and reward. The cue is an event which an individual responds to, which prompts them to engage in a specific behaviour in order to achieve a desired reward. An example of a ‘bad’ habit-loop would be: stress (cue) causing someone to have a cigarette (behaviour), leading to a reduction in stress (reward). An example of a ‘good’ habit-loop would be: a confrontation (cue) leading to someone taking 5 minutes to calm down (behaviour), leading to a calmer and less destructive resolution (reward). You get the idea.
Some of us have habits that we likely are not even aware of. More often than not, creating or breaking habits does not come naturally to most people – it requires consideration, effort and time.
Isn’t a routine the same thing as a habit? Routines and habits are similar in that they both involve repetitive behaviours, but they differ in one key aspect. A habit is a behaviour which is the result of an impulse, while a routine is often something that you choose to do consciously because you feel as though you must. For example, one might have to consciously decide to drink their coffee without cream or sugar, knowing that the reward – in terms of health benefits – accumulates over time. A routine becomes a habit when it is done so regularly that your mind automatically associates the behaviour with the reward.
Now, back to POW and the 12 month challenge. The prevailing idea of the 12 month challenge is intrinsically connected to habit forming. Habits can be formed in a few weeks – though sometimes they take much longer than this. The idea is that every month we inspire people like you to do two things: alter your behaviours in an environmentally friendly way, and repeat these behaviours until they become habits that you perform unconsciously. Hopefully by the end of each month you have formed at least one good habit -or conquered a bad one!- that helps in the fight against climate change. Not every one of the challenges will be entirely about forming different habits, but many of them will be!
Here are some tips for habit forming to help you when considering the coming challenges.
Start small and increase in measured steps. Imagine a person trying to eliminate single-use plastic (could this be a hint? Wink wink) from their life. It is so prevalent in all aspects of our way of life that this person would have to significantly change dozens of their behaviours overnight to eliminate all single use plastics immediately – this makes the process daunting and seemingly unattainable. Instead this person could eliminate or change all of their behaviours that use plastic straws – perhaps they could use a metal straw, or do away with straws altogether. Once they have mastered that particular behaviour they could start working on a new behaviour to change – like using tupperware instead of saran wrap.
Progress over perfection. For those of you familiar with POW’s messaging this should come as no surprise. Any step in the right direction should be recognized and celebrated. It is no different for forming good habits. Perhaps the individual in the above example did great and avoided using plastic straws for 6 days, then forgot to ask their server to withhold a straw from their drink. Instead of framing the experience as a failure to avoid plastic straws one time, they should instead frame the entire week as an 86% success rate! Do not let hiccups discourage you from continuing. We are all human and we are all bound to make mistakes, what is important is to focus on progress.
Remember the benefits. There are many benefits to forming habits with environmentally friendly living in mind. The most obvious being the effect they have on climate change and the environment. There are often secondary benefits to these habits that can often be overlooked. Spend some time thinking about what other benefits might befall you by participating in the 12 months challenges. Walking or bicycling instead of driving is not only a great way to reduce emissions, but it will also save you money in vehicle maintenance and fuel cost, and get some extra exercise in the week!
Sometimes it may seem like altering a tiny part of your daily routine is an insignificant gesture in the face of climate change. It is important to keep in mind however, that more often than not it is not just one person acting. Together, our individual actions will add up to make a massive difference!
Posted on: December 15th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
To date, our story has lacked representation of many communities. We recognize that diversity and equity in the outdoor space are integral to solving climate change. The more opportunities that are available for participation in the outdoors for ALL, the more chances we have at protecting it. In response to this, we have created a robust and practical DEI Action Plan with targets that will lead to meaningful change
Posted on: October 19th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
We’re often asked, “what does POW actually do”. Good question and first off, we know we need to do a better job of clearly communicating our mission and work. At the moment, the most effective way is to share our annual report with people, as it highlights the key accomplishments from the previous year. In 2020, we have MANY wins under our belt on a number of important policy initiatives and advocacy campaigns – stay tuned for our 2020 Annual Report. So, take a look. We think you’ll be impressed with what our community has accomplished to date and with our plans for further climate action.
Posted on: September 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
Understanding the POWer of movements and the forces working to suppress progress is important baseline information when working for climate action. Each fall we gather our ambassadors, partners and other stakeholders for a multi-day training session to review the latest in climate science, strategy, objectives and campaigns. This year, for obvious reasons, the retreat was condensed to one day and held virtually via zoom. Although in-person is more effective and engaging, this year’s format allowed for greater participation from ambassadors (often at training camps or events at this time of year) and partners (heads down in marketing and comms plans) – plus it was a win from a budget and carbon standpoint. We view all POW members as ambassadors and want to ensure everyone has the same access to training and materials to help build the movement. In that spirit, we’re pleased to share video recordings of the full, unedited sessions including renowned Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes (author of Merchants of Doubt) discussion on the POWer of social movements on climate.
Posted on: September 29th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
When you talk to people about progress on climate change, how often do you hear “well our emissions are nothing compared to China and until they take it seriously, why should we?”. Well, China just unveiled what Bloomberg Green is calling “the most ambitious climate goal the world’s ever seen” with solar capacity growing by 587%, nuclear by 382%, wind by 346%, bioenergy by 100%, and hydropower by 50% by 2060. Coal consumption falls by 96%, gas by 75%, and oil by 65%. The plan was released this week at Tsinghua University in Beijing by the government-affiliated Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy. The proposed “blueprint” would see the country invest $15 Trillion (yes, that’s a T) USD over the next 30 years leading to new jobs, new industry and new hope for the global climate movement. Read the full article here.
Posted on: June 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
Carrying momentum from the #RejectTeck campaign, we had high hopes for massive engagement from members, ambassadors and brands during our #NewPath Campaign. Although our Enthusiast to Advocate Tool is still live for anyone wanting to send emails – click here if you haven’t sent yours yet – the early analytics indicate MASSIVE engagement across the board. A total of 10,367 emails were sent to the five key decision makers tasked with developing the economic stimulus package needed to kick start the economy.
Collectively, our community sent 10,367 emails to the 5 key decision makers tasked with developing the economic stimulus package needed to kick start the economy. If you take a deep dive into the analytics it boils down to a 20 % engagement rate. That’s CRAZY (CRAZY GOOD).
As icing on the cake, our partners came together to send a very strong letter of support for the principles and recommendations within the #NewPath campaign. Click here to read the letter.
Over the next few weeks we’ll eagerly wait to see how our collective action will translate to change. Thank you to everyone to our members, partners and ambassadors for coming together to help us create a #NewPath toward a green & just recovery.
Posted on: May 30th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
We have THE BEST partners out there. We know the outdoor industry is massive and with that comes significant political and economic influence. These brands are committed to elevating POW Canada’s policy agenda at a national level which is part of our secret sauce for real climate action.
Posted on: May 21st, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
Win a signed Jeremy Jones snowboard and POW swag pack!
When 22 year old, Hugo Lapointe from Repentigny Quebec was temporarily laid off from his job as a technician @universeboardshop due to COVID, he was inspired to use his time to better his local community and the planet. “It started by wanting to clean up bottles from roadsides and parks in my area” says Hugo, a member of POW’s Montreal Chapter. With landfills and recycling centres closed or on reduced hours, our neighbourhoods, parks, forests and broader communities have become the defacto dumping site for unwanted garbage and recycling.
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After quickly filling several bags with bottles and cans, Hugo realized there was a much larger opportunity. Due to health and safety concerns, beer and liquor stores across the country have temporarily suspended accepting returns, which means empties are taking up space in people’s basements and garages. Hugo enlisted the help of family and friends and used his social media channels on Facebook and Instagram, asking people to bring their empties (cans or bottles in cases or bags) to his house, promising proceeds would be donated to Protect Our Winters Canada. The response was incredible and has forced Hugo to get creative in finding places to temporarily store the empties until the stores re-open; under decks, behind his BBQ, in his parent’s basement, in the garden shed to name a few. To date, Hugo has collected and received approximately 50,000 empties which translates to $5000 to support POW’s work on climate action.
Inspired? So were we! We’ve sent Hugo a cool POW swag package and Jeremy Jones sent Hugo a signed board from his personal collection!!! Don’t be jealous! You can get in on it too with our Can Climate Challenge. We’ll send a dope POW swag package AND signed Jeremy Jones snowboard to the person who runs the most successful bottle drive before June 15, 2020! Not familiar with Bottle Drives? Here’s some tips: https://www.return-it.ca/programs/bottledrivetips/. Ask your family and friends for their empties. But it out on social media and see who shows up with cans and bottles they’ve been storing in their basement. Involve your local running, biking or ski group. GO BIG! BE A HUGO!
Here are the details: Contest runs until June 15, 2020 and is open to individuals or teams (note only one prize is available). Winner is based on most dollars raised/donated to POW Canada through: https://protectourwinters.ca/donate/ by June 15, 2020. Please drink responsibly and use best practices for protecting against COVID.
Posted on: April 29th, 2020 by Protect Our Winters Canada
Like many others we know that being able to change and adapt during these times is very important. We know that you can’t leave the house or town to attend POW Events which is why we are bringing them to you!
Check out our three newest virtual programs below!