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25 June 2008

Comfort Zone Under Re-Construction

To kick off the summer driving season, we promoted a rideshare day at the Realogy headquarters on Friday, June 20. For weeks we revved up the internal communications machine to drive participation through stump speeches, email newsletters, plasma screen promos, executive emails, flyers, sign up tables and water cooler talk. We even held out the carrot of two $50 gas cards. It was a full court press. The result? Out of a building population of about 900, we had 88 register with Nuride.com (not bad), and on the big day itself, about 25 people took the leap and carpooled into work.

carpoolIt’s a modest start, I admit, but it’s a start all the same. Our sister company, Cartus, started their program three years ago and now have over 400 employees registered in the Nuride.com system. Over 180 participated in their Earth Day rideshare event this year. Someday, I hope to get to that level.

I was actually among the 25 to carpool on our rideshare day. The result? A couple extra bucks in my pocket, a smaller carbon footprint for the day and, most importantly, a little broader perspective on what it takes to “walk the talk” of being green.

What it took was stepping out of my comfort zone.

Sharing a ride meant changing my morning routine, my departure times, my choice of routes, my music preferences… all those little things that comprise my daily commuting experience. In the end, it was well worth the trip and bears repeating as soon as my “rideshare buddy” returns from vacation.

Bulldog Reporter recently cited a Shelton Group study of U.S. consumers that stated that despite a vast U.S. marketing and media coverage trend toward green affinity and awareness in recent years, most Americans admit putting personal comfort (46 percent) ahead of the environment (31 percent). No surprise there. We are comfort creatures of habit.

Yet, the economics of energy and environmental impacts will force us all out of our comfort zones sooner or later. When you think about it, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Can you think of a time of personal or professional growth that was actually “comfortable?” They don’t call it “growing pains” for nothing.

Thankfully, we are amazingly adaptable creatures and, like natural selection, whoever adapts first, usually comes out on top.

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