Organizing RC Workshops with COE Tips[1]

In thinking about how the RC Communities can inspire others and model caring for the environment, it would be helpful if practicalities of care for the environment were more visible at our workshops. It might encourage everyone to discharge more, and more frequently, about the restimulations and recordings we carry that keep us from caring more fully about ourselves and our so-dear planet, with all its beauty and everything alive on it.

Following are suggestions that can help us think in this area, compiled by the editor from the experience of many RC COE leaders. The suggestions are from people living in the First, or Western, “privileged” world. We are aware of things being different in other parts of the world.

A Program to Include Care of the Environment
in Organizing a Workshop and
Being at a Workshop Site


Having as a job at each workshop thinking overall about care of the environment at the site.[2] This will help put attention on it.

Having a committee to prepare and present skits during the workshop to educate with humour about some of these aspects on thinking about the environment at the workshop might help participants become more aware of caring for their environment.

A general reminder: It doesn’t make sense to criticize or client at organizers, leaders, or anyone else who does not achieve rational solutions on matters where better care makes sense. Rather, give appreciation for what successes there are, and consider offering attention and assistance for ways to improve next time.


Assigning as a job “recycling.” This allows at least one person to think about, organize, separate, and remove waste and recyclables such as paper, glass, metal, plastics, and compostable organic material. It may be possible to find out from staff at the site what arrangements they have in place and what recycling capabilities are available in that region. Discharge might be needed on how to help the workshop site staff include more recycling. Encouraging the leader of the final clean-up to announce about recycling will help people remember in the final rush. Questions to help with thinking about and discharging on recycling: Where does the plastic (glass, metal, paper, food) come from? How many people, how much and what forms of energy and transportation are involved in getting it to us? Where does energy come from? How is it being used? What happens after we use it? Where does it end up?


Assigning a job of “carpool organizer.” This makes it possible for at least one person to think about how to lessen energy consumption in getting to the site. They can facilitate the sharing of rides and help people discharge and think about how to make carpooling work (even when it feels “inconvenient”). In part, this will mean holding out that workshop participants are required to arrive on time and stay for the duration of the workshop.

Thinking about travel as it relates to the site. Time and energy getting everyone to the workshop can be saved by finding a site near a railway or bus station, or a site that’s centrally located.

Sending information before the workshop about bicycle, bus, and train routes. This can encourage less-energy-consuming transportation and carpooling. Encouraging sessions on questions such as the following may help people think better: How much energy goes into making, using, and maintaining each of the different modes of transportation? Where does it go after we can no longer use it? By attending this workshop, what may I gain that can have an impact elsewhere in caring for the environment? What transportation makes the most sense for me?


Thinking about allergy triggers ahead of time. If you ask about repairs or maintenance—such as new mattresses, new carpets or other flooring, use of paint or glue—and then mention them in your invitation, you supply important information to the fast-growing number of people (in Western countries) with asthma or other allergies. In thinking about people with allergies, consider buying unscented, toxin-free soap and shampoo for participant washrooms. Possible questions for thinking and discharge: What is in the products and what is potentially toxic? What feelings come up about thinking in this way and changing how we do things? (Again, all the questions posed above about the source and destination of materials are also relevant.)


Finding a site that is used frequently. This can save heating costs (and often has a healthier atmosphere).

When possible, having group meetings in rooms with natural light (such as windows and skylights). This will lessen energy use for lighting.

Minimizing the use of air conditioning in summer and heating in winter. This is another opportunity to lessen energy needs. Instead of turning up the heat or air conditioning, encourage participants to dress for the temperature (for example, by wearing layers that can be added or removed as temperatures change).


The snack-food buyer and others having sessions on the relevant impact of food production and transportation (local, organic, in-season foods with less packaging being those with the least impact). A question for discharge: How much do I know about how food is grown and processed? Interested participants could discharge on and think about the best ways to move the site’s kitchen staff toward environmental thoughtfulness around food.

Encouraging participants to bring their own water bottles instead of using bottled water and to notice their use of water (turning taps off when brushing teeth, shorter showers). This will reduce water use. People can discharge on what they know about where the water at the workshop comes from and where it goes.

Encouraging participants to bring their own labelled mug (and bringing extras for those who forget). This helps lessen paper cup consumption.


Encouraging participants to bring their own cloth handkerchiefs. This helps lessen consumption of tissues.


In the Americas, acknowledging and providing information about First Nation or Native history and land of the workshop site in an appropriate way. This encourages awareness of Native liberation and the historical use of the land. Short sessions on “free land” and “How have I personally benefitted from the genocide of First Nations?” are also possible entrees to working on Native liberation.

Giving information about physiological, biological, and other aspects, as well as the beauty of the surrounding nature, such as vegetation, animals, and climate. This helps participants develop a relationship with nature at the workshop site.

Beth Cruise
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


[1] This document is also found on the RC website in the Workshop Organizing Manual

[2] The guidelines for organizing Area, Regional, and International workshops (on the RC web site) list care of the environment as a workshop job.

Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00