I love Earth Day. Well, I love the idea behind Earth Day. Over forty years ago, industrial pollution was virtually unchecked in America. Activists were desperate for a way to make people see how important it was to require polluters, big and small, to clean up their act. So they created a holiday. Now, on April 22nd, people celebrate Earth Day and, allegedly, do kind things for the planet.

The problem with Earth Day is that it lets people off too easy. One day?! One day of even hardcore environmental action can’t account for 364 days of neglect. But around the country, there’s proof that people get the real message of Earth Day. MindMixer is an online engagement tool that helps ordinary citizens crowdsource solutions to problems in their community. In many cities, this means making eco and health-conscious changes.

Join us after the jump for some examples of truly impactful projects this online forum has helped make a reality!

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Image via MindMixer

Eating Fresh and Local in Orlando: The City of Orlando posed a question on the MindMixer site asking communities how much more they would be willing to pay to have 50 percent of their foods come from local farms. Most (36 percent) would pay 10 percent more to have their foods come from local farms, followed by 22 percent who would pay 5 percent more.

Installing electrical vehicle charging stations: Through the MindMixer site, the City of Orlando asked the community what types of programs they would support to increase energy efficiency and sustainability. Ideas that surfaced include installing electrical vehicle charging stations and holding an Earth Day event downtown in support of solar power and energy efficiency.

Reusable Bags Designed by the Public: InspireBoulder implemented the public’s designs onto 30,000 new reusable grocery bags which will be distributed in the city of Boulder. The ideas were part of the city’s Reusable Bag Design Competition which were suggested on the MindMixer site and then later implemented by the city.

Community Composting in Park City: Residents of Park City, Utah suggested ideas on their MindMixer site surrounding economic development, quality of life improvements and sustainability. As a result, one resident’s idea to implement a community composting program became real when Park City’s Environmental Sustainability Manager approved the idea, which is very similar to an ordinance passed by the city of San Francisco.

What eco-problem has been nagging at your conscience? It’s time to stop waiting for someone else to take action, and be the change. Use MindMixer to help organize your neighbors, or just get out there and start talking to people. You’d be surprised how easy change can be when a few dedicated citizens put their mind to it.

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