WFH hopes to get 10,000 cars off Austin-area roads for a day to foster lower ozone and carbon emissions while educating our work force about tools to make working remotely simple and manageable.
On February 8, 2013, Austin-area streets will look deserted, as if it were a holiday, if local leaders have their way. In an initiative created at the Austin area simulcast of the highly-lauded Mashable Social Good Summit in New York City on September 24, 2012, a group of community activists, leaders, and socially conscious entrepreneurs gathered to discuss ways to create a sustainable impact on U.S. communities. The leading resolution passed by the Austin team supports the creation of a citywide “Work From Home (WHF)” initiative that will contribute to reducing air pollution. City Councilman Mike Martinez was instrumental in getting a resolution by the City Council passed today that supports this initiative. “Environmental issues continue to be at the forefront of our priorities in the City of Austin,” said the councilman. “These values are reflected in the Work From Home initiative. I was happy to sponsor a resolution that passed unanimously to have the City participate in the pilot program to make strides toward reducing emissions and improving our air quality in Austin.”
The local summit group decided during Austin’s simulcast of the event that the focus on fostering clean air was among the most urgent of needs for Austin; hence, a self-imposed tight working timeline. “We wanted to see the fruits of our ‘good’ produce results within six months,” says Ruben Cantu of CORE Media Enterprises, one of the effort’s leaders. “It’s an ambitious timeline, but we’re an ambitious bunch in a city that likes to push harder for change than most!”
“While acting as a leader for other communities, we are planning our pilot “10,000 Cars Off the Road Day” for February 8, 2013,” says Stephen Vogelpohl of SocialGoodTV, a cause marketing firm and another leader of the Austin-based effort. “On that day, we are asking everyone who possibly can to participate – especially companies that employ a large number of Austinites. This will allow a significant fraction of the work force to Work From Home, thereby causing a dramatic drop in air pollution that day.”
The group is currently gathering support from as many companies, governmental organizations, not-forprofit organizations and NGO’s as possible, including the region’s air quality improvement organization, the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas. “We want to see what this single initiative can do for our air quality,” furthers Cantu. The impact will be measured by looking at miles saved on fuel, the number of surveys signed, and the reduction percentage of emissions. “Looking at all of these factors,” Cantu continues, “will help us establish how our efforts contribute to an improved air quality.
Hopefully, the results will inspire businesses around the city to establish WHF days on their own prior to the next Ozone Season which begins April 1, 2013” Air quality test results of the pilot day will be presented during the Social Good Summit Austin during SXSW on March 10, 2013 at City Hall, and shared with the community at-large on the Social Good Summit website. The group hopes to use this initiative to promote future WFH days in Austin, and hopefully other cities, throughout the years ahead.