by Sally Braley | October 8, 2012

Recently, I rode my bicycle through the Amish country of Pennsylvania, past farms and streams, cornfields and lush, green fields. I was awestruck by the beauty of my surroundings and the freshness of the late-summer air. And I couldn't help thinking about my children, and what I was or wasn't doing to make sure they and their children and their children's children would be able to enjoy this beauty, too.

Now, I am not the greenest person you will meet, but I do follow a number of sustainable practices every day, not for political reasons or to be hip or to impress our neighbors, but because it just feels morally right. Why not reuse materials if we can, why not save the chopping down of trees? Why not?

In our home, we recycle everything we can, we drive two cars that get more than 40 miles to the gallon, and I minimize the waste that results from the food I pack for my children's lunches. We're a four-person family, and we only throw out about one large bag of garbage each week. Here at M&C, the magazine is printed on sustainable paper stock certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. I feel just as strongly that similar practices should be in place at meetings (and have felt that way for years: While attending my first convention for M&C in the summer of 1995, I cornered one of the senior staff members of the organization and asked why there were no recycling bins at the convention center). Meetings definitely have come a long way since  then, with many facilities offering food-donation services, creative recycling suggestions and more. But the majority have a long way to go.

We'd like to do more to educate our audience about green meetings, starting with this blog. The Green Standard will cover sustainability news from the meetings world, including case studies, products and other items of interest. We hope to help the meetings industry move forward in an eco-friendly manner, both at venues, in meetings and at home.

Feel free to tell me about your favorite green products, inventive practices you've used at home or in meetings, and any other suggestions (e-mail [email protected]).