Vermontivate, an intertown energy conservation challenge, is launching Monday, May 14. Set to run until June 15, this frolicsome on-line/real-world competition infuses joy and creativity into the serious and important work of energy conservation.
Players will spend the month racking up points for everything from changing lightbulbs and starting compost piles to writing energy poetry for their town paper or hosting a candle-lit raw food potluck and knitting bee.
From newbies and neophiles to over-educated energy mavens, people at all levels of awareness and engagement are invited to play! Even people who don’t live in Vermont can sign up and play on behalf of their favorite Vermont town.
The winning community will receive the Grand Prize Award, a town-wide ice cream party from Ben and Jerry’s!
“Climate change is the most significant issue we face as a culture, and energy use is at the core of the problem,” says Vermontivate co-founder, artist and activist Kathryn Blume. “But,” Blume continues, “approaching it with fear and trepidation does nothing to inspire people to action. On the other hand, we believe we can kick the Culture of Solutions into high gear with a potent combination of innovation, competition, and a little old-fashioned bribery.”
“Agreed!” adds co-founder Nick Lange, a consultant at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. “Humanity found a bunch of black goo in the ground and figured out how to make a civilization out of it. It’s been a great party, but we happen to have seriously compromised the health of the planet along the way. So it only makes sense that we can take our idea-factory brains and opposable thumbs and turn it all around! And we might as well have a good time doing it!”
The game begins with players signing up at Vermontivate.com and following a series of weekly “Jumplines,” which offer a host of different energy-related challenges. “We’re hoping,” says Blume, “to get everyone from town energy committee members to people who’ve never changed a lightbulb in their life. So, we’ve tiered our challenges into levels of Light Green, Medium Green, and Dark Green, so that anyone, at any level of knowledge or experience can participate and earn points for their town.”
Lange adds, “When people sign up, they can also join one of our Guilds, which are groups of like-minded players who can share information and ideas. If someone likes blogging or shooting video, they can be in the Town Criers Guild. If they’re more about writing energy limericks for their town paper, they can be in the Artists, Bards, and Troubadours Guild. People who like to give each other cupcakes as a reward for great work can be in the Boosters and Bakers Guild. We’ve really got something for everyone.”