The Green Sneakers Project
By Joan Saxe, Sierra Club's Maine Chapter
The Green Sneakers Project is a door-to-door Maine neighborhood campaign created to motivate local citizens to take personal actions that address the global challenge of climate change and deteriorating air quality.
Project plans included recruiting and training volunteers to talk directly to and educate 2,000 of their neighbors about residential energy and money-saving strategies they can implement as they reduce their contributions to global climate change. The Green Sneakers Project successfully canvassed in 14 Maine communities in 2010 and eight communities in the fall of 2011.
More than 50 volunteers including town community team leaders participated in the 2011 Green Sneakers Project York County, Maine, canvass. The one-day door-to-door canvass and follow-up election day at the polls educated local residents in eight communities on Efficiency Maine's PACE program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) and the Seacoast Energy Initiative loan program.
Conversations were held with over 1,500 residents and educational information on reducing carbon emissions and home energy efficiency efforts and low interest loan opportunities. Local businesses supported the initiative both monetarily and provided green sneakers cash coupons for specific services related to energy efficiency work.
This campaign required many materials. "Sorry We Missed You" door hangers were left if homeowners were absent at the time of the canvass. Homeowners interested in free follow-up home visits/walk-throughs with our volunteer teams provided contact information to us so that we can continue to engage them beyond the initial canvass conversation.
Lawn signs were up throughout the county. We had some good cooperation between community energy groups and town officials. We gained good media and we used tabloid inserts. We also had doorhangers, reusable bags.
But the real keys to our success were our dedicated staff and volunteers. Overall it was a great campaign that brought us together.
(Images courtesy Andy Burt: Top: Youth from Green Sneakers' Future Homeowners smart energy project visit with Sen. Susan Collins; Door to door canvassers show homeowners the special tabloid full of relevant information to save energy; Green Sneakers volunteers of all ages pose after completing door-to-door canvass, reaching more than 200 homeowners on a Saturday morning and delivering goodie bags filled with energy information and gifts.)