By Gina Carroll
We can change the world without paying a dime. There are amazing ways to make a difference in our own neighborhoods and even worldwide without the necessity of taking out our checkbooks. I have been learning this lesson and coming into this reality in profound ways lately. The economy is making us more cost-conscious, while it’s also creating profound needs in our communities. So it is vitally important to understand that there are actions we can take to effectuate change without it costing us our hard-earned money.
At Moms Clean Air Force, we know the value of action beyond financial donations from our members. We have been reaching out to other mothers, fathers, grandparents and anyone concerned about the welfare of children, to ask for action. We don’t solicit for money, but we have been able to influence the dialog around air pollution among legislators and corporations. We’ve harnessed the passion of parents nationwide (over 100,000 members), and amplified the voices of those communities most negatively impacted by air pollution with strong results.
Here in Houston, Texas, we have innovative programs that can initiate change without asking for funds. UHY LLP Certified Public Accountants has teamed with Easter Seals Greater Houston, CompuCycle and The Council For Corporate Responsibility for an innovative corporate responsibility program aimed at converting electronic waste into jobs for Easter Seal clients. CompuCycle, Houston’s first R2 Certified, EPA recognized, electronic recycling solutions provider, will manage the electronic recycling process and hire Easter Seals clients to assist in the work. This collaborative project has been named the WhatIF campaign. It answers the question, “WhatIF businesses could protect the environment and contribute to the community at the same time?”
According to a 2009 Environmental Protection Agency Report, the U.S. dumps more than 3,000,000 tons of electronic waste annually. The report claims that more than 80% of e-waste discarded in the U.S. is still placed in landfills and incinerators, with only 17.7 percent going to recyclers. Instead of being left to leach harmful toxins into the environment, many electronic discards have parts that can be recycled for additional use.
“WhatIF fosters a virtuous circle of community action,” said Rick Stein, CEO of UHY Advisors-Texas. “It allows UHY as a company as well as our employees to contribute to a great cause… Rather than making cash donations that many worthy charities often request, WhatIF creates value from items that would otherwise just be thrown away.”
So from September 15th through November 15th (which is America Recycles Day), the program is targeting collections of 500,000 pounds of waste. And even though old computers, printers and cell phones are common electronic waste, the program will accept any item with a plug such as small kitchen appliances, VCR players, and hair dryers.
The other awesome part of this collaboration is that net proceeds of this drive will create the capital necessary to begin a job training and placement program at Easter Seals Greater Houston. CompuCycle will be the first location for jobs placement, and they are currently working with a few clients in collaboration with Easter Seals to ensure a successful opportunity for individuals living with disability.
I love when a national corporation understands the urgency of our environmental challenges, and uses its influence to make things better. The WhatIF campaign will have positive reverberations throughout the City of Houston and beyond.
Moms Clean Air Force can put you in touch with your own personal power of influence. We have the clear knowledge that you can be impactful in significant ways beyond your checkbook. What if you all join us in our mission to clean up the air our children breathe?