Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: email@example.com
Friendly competition has helped Virginia towns and agencies become a little more environmentally friendly.
Sometimes the best way to get individuals or agencies to change for good is to create a little healthy competition. In Virginia, competitions help state agencies and localities become more green. The Virginia Municipal League's Go Green Virginia initiative pits localities against one another, with opportunities for towns to learn and share best practices with one another through forums and tips submitted to an online Green Book. Participating localities earn points for doing things like formally adopting a sustainability plan, establishing LEED certifications for new buildings, and creating innovative practices for reducing carbon emissions. Cities that earn 100 out of 200 points earn a "green government" classification. Last year, Governor Tim Kaine also challenged state agencies to be more sustainable, and thirty-seven agencies accepted that challenge. The Green Commonwealth Challenge helped increase carpooling and alternative transportation, and expanded recycling programs in 19 agencies. The departments of environmental quality and corrections, and Virginia Tech were recognized for their top scores in the contest and agency directors could reward employees with a day off. Thumbnail by wetwebwork, via Creative Commons.