Living Planet @ Work Champion of the Month: Jason Pye
Jason Pye shares the childhood memories which helped to harness his passion for the environment and his interest in protecting it. As a member of Woodstock Quality Hotel & Suite's green team, he translates this passion by integrating fundraising for conservation within their sustainability program.
By Jason Pye
Growing up in a small village in southern Ontario, I had the chance to spend my days outdoors enjoying the many faces of nature in a unique, undisturbed kind of way. Spring brought puddles to splash. Summer gave me trees to climb. Autumn- leaves to toss and the winter ushered in a whole new landscape to build with. That was what always kept me outside. The changing seasons simply made things exciting, fresh and new.
In the summer, my brother and I would head to the little creeks and babbling brooks so we could quench our thirst during those hot days. I’m not sure that was the best idea, but it seemed to do the trick!
In my late teens, my brother and I would go for a bike ride that passed one of our creeks that we would occasionally drink from as kids. When we found out that we could no longer drink from it because of foam build up (not necessarily a sign of polluted water), it changed my way of thinking. It was most likely at the sight of that creek that the idea of pollution and protecting our environment became more relevant in my life.
I began taking note of environmental movements and messages in the news and an interest in preserving the places where my hobbies had formed. The more I read, the more involved I wanted to become.
It was hard to find an outlet for my passion until I was approached by a manager at work about forming a green team.
That was our stepping stone. From there we continued to expand our initiatives. Team dynamics changed as people came and left and eventually I became the head of the green team. Through my journey on the team our environmental goals expanded to include community projects and most of all, fundraising.
Fundraising for environmental issues is just another way to invoke change on a wider scale. Our passionate green team members want to do their part in creating an environmentally sustainable future. Many of us believe that we can have a greater impact by funding the larger movements while continuing our smaller, more localized efforts that can engage and change behavior such as community clean-ups and employee education.
As resources deplete, funding conservation work is in every business’ best interest. It is wise to invest now in alternative and sustainable methods. Although investing doesn’t seem like a viable option for some businesses, employee fundraising at work, however, is. It is a way for every dollar to count and more employees to contribute to a cause that aligns with their values and affects their future. There is strength in numbers. Collectively, if we can fundraise for organizations that are pushing for positive change, we can make a huge difference.
In our experience, we’ve found that fundraising for campaigns like WWF’s Arctic Home to protect our Arctic ecosystem, has helped our hotel stand out, receive more recognition in our local community and enable conservation on a larger scale.
In the next year, our green team will continue to fundraise for these important conservation programs by participating in WWF’s CN Tower Climb and collecting donations for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in September. Our team is inspired, committed and understanding of the critical environmental challenges ahead. Most of all, we can look back at our work and say that we didn’t just make a difference in the workplace, but we took it a step further by supporting those conservation issues that affect us all.
Inspired by Jason’s story? Interested in joining him and his green team in fundraising for WWF’s conservation work? Pledge a few of these "Actions" and get started now!