Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh Green Meetings by Travel Portland....I Heart You

I must have fallen and hit my head or something, because how could I have missed the Green Meetings by Travel Portland website.

I can honestly say that it is to green meeting planners what Las Vegas is to gamblers. The motherland of information and resources.

It contains tons of info, packaged cleverly so that it will be memorable. Particularly impressed with the videos, which you can access on their site or on youtube. "Mon Assemblee Vert" is my favourite, love the faux Parisian accent.

Even seasoned green meeting planners can learn something on their site. The link to "Meeting Land" is savvy and you get to travel to the famed city of "Greentopia" while getting great tips along the way.

I know I am gushing, but I like to give credit where credit is due and this site definitely deserves it.

Congrats! Keep up the great work. P.S. I get to go to Portland next year for the GMIC....yeah me!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Commit a Random Act of Green for Earth Day!

Here is the challenge for everyone......Commit at least one "Random Act of Green" between now and midnight April 22nd (Earth Day) and send me a blog post about it.

What is a "Random Act of Green?".....well it can be anything that promotes sustainability. It can be picking up a wayward pop bottle and dropping it in a recycling container, walking to work or using cloth bags at the grocery store. The sky is the limit and I am excited to hear what everyone comes up with.

Get ready, get set.....GO

Friday, April 16, 2010

I spy with my green eyes........

Are you tired of giving/receiving stainless steel water bottles at every greened conference you have attended the past couple of years? Why not give out shower timers? It is an item which will work on modifying behaviour, which is key!

A Digital Shower Timer from Blue Star. I received this link via twitter and thought it was a great idea.

Found it on www.ecogreenhotel.com (by the way....fabulous resource website) and was instantly smitten.

The website states...

"The Digital Shower Timers are a great way to introduce the concept of shorter showers that is fun, attractive and effective. Simply install in a shower on a non-porous surface with a suction cup (also can be made available with a heavy duty adhesive tape for more permanent installations). This water proof and shatter proof digital shower is a battery-operated real time clock and programmable countdown timer that beep‚ beep..beeps you out of the shower.

Consider the following:

  • Hotels average 2.1 guests per room each taking 16.2 minute showers using 71.4 gallons of water per room for showering per day. (Pacific Institute/Western Resource Advocates)
  • 3,334,500 gallons of water are used for showering in Las Vegas alone per year.
  • By instituting the shorter shower program a hotel can save nearly $700.00 per year for every 100 hotel rooms with a participation rate of only 20%.
  • Growing consumer concern for the environment will increasingly become a key differentiator in guest's choice of quality accommodations

Hotels Long showers translate to profits down the drain. With rising water and sewer rates, as well as increasing prices of the energy required to heat water, there is a large and growing opportunity for hotels to reduce their operating costs and environmental impact through a shorter shower program."

I have also found the Shower Minder Water Conservation Timer at Fairware (www.fairware.ca). Fairware is a Vancouver based company who's goal is to, "source high quality, unique promotional items that meet our standards of social and environmental responsibility". They have a great website and lots of great products.

So...wouldn't shower timers make a great giveaway to your out of town guests at your next conference? Get them branded with your logo and then give them out! I will bet your participants will be impressed and will be taking it home and putting in their shower at home for their teenage children!

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank you!

This picture was taken when I was a little girl walking with my Grandmother and sister in downtown Edmonton. I didn't look very happy because I was wearing a polyester pant suit and the concrete jungle we were strolling through made the temperature feel like 30 degrees celsius! I did have a good time on that trip and I was thankful for my grandparents and all that they did for me. You just couldn't tell by looking at me.....

When you are in the middle of an event it is sometimes difficult to convey how appreciative you are of your team, your volunteers, etc. because you are busy....extremely busy. You are focused on the task at hand and because of that, those around you may not know how thankful you are that they are on your team!

The first thing you should do following an event is write good old fashioned thank you notes. Yes, the paper kind (you can get eco-friendly thank you cards), the ones you write on with your own hand, address and mail with a real stamp!

Do this before you forget because there is a "golden week" in which a thank you note should be received, any later and it becomes an afterthought.

In your thank you note, reinforce why they were important to your project. Be specific. You want them to know that you noticed the little/big things that they did for you or which contributed to the success of the event.

I cherish the thank you notes which I have received over the years and have kept each and every one of them. They are tacked onto my bulletin board and I currently have one on my fridge. When I am working on a particularly difficult project, they are a pleasant reminder that I am doing a good job.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes being embarrassed is the least of your problems.....!

Nothing can sink your reputation faster than being responsible for choosing a poor speaker or entertainment that stinks. A keynote speaker with a platinum price tag that fails to inspire, a comedian who tells inappropriate jokes....

Believe me.....the participants/stakeholders will forget about the poor speaker faster than they will forget the planner who made the unfortunate booking.

How do you get around this? I mean....you can't screen everyone can you?

The answer is yes you can and you should screen all potential speakers and entertainers. How do you do this?

Hire an agency - You may pay a little more, but it is worth it! An agency can save you time, energy and your reputation. Let's face it.....that's their job and they are good at it. As long as you can identify your budget, demographic, target audience and the deliverables, the agency should be able to give you a list of possible speakers. They will look after the contract, travel requirements, identify all costs to you and let you know of any other special requests that the speaker may have. I deal with the Lavin Agency and they are great!


Call other planners - When I was looking to bring a comedian from Eastern Canada out for an event, I checked her website for past events/clients. I then contacted the planner(s) for those events and asked them point blank the following:
  • "Did they deliver what they promised?"
  • "Did the audience enjoy them?"
  • "Were they easy to work with?"
  • " Were there any surprises?"
and the most important question,
  • "Would you hire them again?"
99% of planners will answer these questions honestly and you will have a much better idea about the speaker.

Happy Planning!

Friday, April 9, 2010

I spy with my green eyes.......

Just found this on twitter and had to share it with you.

Excerpt from the article written by GLENDA LUYMES, THE PROVINCE April 8, 2010


"...Although the farm is still under construction and set to open in late May or early June, 50 cows and 1,000 chickens are already at work, producing milk and eggs that will eventually be sold in an on-site market.

"It's all about going back to nature," said Vanderkooi. "We're concerned with healthy living and we really want to help educate people about healthy food and a healthy lifestyle."

The cows and the chickens all have free run of their barns, with the cows choosing when they want to be milked in the robotic milking machine. The machine uses less water and energy than traditional milking machines."

The article goes on to describe other great green innovations at work on the farm.

Click on this link to finish reading the article Canada's first eco-dairy set to launch

I just, I mean literally, just finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and have been a bit of a purple funk about the whole eating animals, eggs, drinking milk thing. Then I happened upon this article that someone linked to on Twitter and it has renewed my spirit somewhat. I only wish that I lived closer to it.

I spy with my green eyes.....

Now this is kinda cool, kinda different. I was surfing the blogsphere and happened across this link. "The Hands Create Window Farming" It was on the Edmonton Guerilla Gardening blog which is really interesting.

The site states, "...vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials". It is window farming and a great alternative to traditional gardens.

Don't you just love the ingenuity!

Lend a Hand for Earth Day 2010

I have been researching for my blog and see there are many different articles floating about discussing how people should spend Earth Day 2010. So...I thought I would contribute my two cents worth.

Here is my recipe for spending Earth Day 2010

Find a project - call around to non-profit organizations, etc. and identify a "project" that you participate in. Perhaps it is painting a club house for the soccer association, or cleaning out the flower beds of the local seniors home. The important thing to remember is that the project must be designed to be completed that day so that there is a feeling of accomplishment achieved.

Now that you have identified a project you need to.....

Come up with a guest list - write down a list of individuals whom you could invite to participate in this project. Make sure you will have enough to complete the project as promised.

Send out the "invitations" - Go to the local Home Depot or hardware store and purchase work gloves. These will become your invitations for the event. Hand deliver only one glove to the invitee. Write on the palm of the glove, the details of the event, i.e. time, date, etc. You can explain that they will receive the other glove when they show up that morning.

"Lend a hand to celebrate Earth Day"
April 22nd

When everyone arrives at the project site, hand out the second glove to participants. Arrange to have a member of the organization that you are supporting be there to explain the project and what the contribution means.

Post Project Picnic (love alliteration!) - You can either have a post project picnic at the site, or you can invite the participants over to your home for a barbeque. If you give them an hour to freshen up with the promise of a cold beer or glass of wine, they will be sure to attend. Psst....try to make it local beer or wine

Pictures!! Make sure that you take lots of pictures during the project. A group photo is really important because you will want to send each participant one as a great keepsake and thank you!

I hope you have a wonderful Earth Day!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I spy with my green eyes.........

Now this is an interesting product. I haven't used it myself, but saw it on store shelves at Simple Pleasures recently. The Vapur website calls it the "Anti-bottle, the first flexible water bottle designed to fit in your purse, backpack or briefcase". The website also states it is dishwasher safe and BPA free.

Tammy Tryon of Simple Pleasures is shown here with the Vapur Bottle display. Simple Pleasures is located at 10301 10th Street, Dawson Creek, BC

Friday, April 2, 2010

This place is perfect....but it smells reallllly bad!

Have you ever walked into a venue such as a banquet room or a rural community hall and had your nasal passages assaulted by an “odour”…..nothing that you can put your finger on and identify really, other than it doesn’t smell very good.

Imagine you are a bride to be and you have your heart set on returning to your home town and holding your wedding reception in the community hall a mile from your family farm. The hall is perfect! It will hold 250 guests, has a large commercial kitchen, has a large parking lot and holds many pleasant memories for you. The downside is.......it kinda smells.

Seldom used rooms and buildings can often smell musty and stale. The doors are locked after each event and are not reopened until the next one, which could be weeks away. You want your guests to remember the food, the music, the speeches……not the smell.

The challenge for a green event planner is how can you remove the odour without using harmful or toxic products?

  • Do a walk through of the venue and identify the trouble areas
  • Make a plan and let the venue manager know what you intend to do to combat the odour.

Once you get approval from the manager:

  • Open the doors! In the days preceeding your event, open the doors and windows. You can also set up a fan in a doorway with the fan facing out. This will help remove some of the stale air.
  • Leave bowls of vinegar in closed off areas such as the bathrooms and coatrooms. Remove the bowls the day before the event. The vinegar will neutralize the odours. Baking soda will do the same thing.
  • Spray undiluted vinegar into the air. You can also try diluted Vodka in a spray bottle. Theatre costume managers spray diluted vodka on the costumes before putting them away between shows.
  • For small carpets, you can sprinkle baking soda, leave overnight and vacuum. You can even sprinkle course salt on the carpets with the baking soda. The action of the vacuum on the salted carpet can make the area appear brighter, cleaner.
  • Make your own potpourri. Slice fruit such as oranges, apples and lemons and place them on a cookie sheet. Put them in the oven set on the lowest setting. Turn the slices over every hour until they are completely dried. Place the fruit in a jar and add things like cinnamon sticks and cloves. Leave the jar closed until the day of the event and at that time pour into a decorate container and leave in the washrooms or entry-way.
  • Coffee beans are a great way to “disguise” unwanted smells. Pour the beans into a clear, square vase and insert a single large flower with a water tube into the beans until the tube is completely buried. Make a few of these and set them in the washrooms.
  • Bucket List – Make sure that the floors have been thoroughly washed since the previous event. Spills from beer and pop can leave the floors sticky and smelly. Using a clean mop and bucket, wash the linoleum floors with a mixture of one cup of white vinegar for each gallon of water.