Courtesy of Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, your fellow eco-warriors are just a click away.

On Feb. 27, Sustainable Pittsburgh will kick off the I Am Sustainable Pittsburgh challenge, a three-week online game where participants can score points by adopting eco-conscious habits in their daily lives.

Players will take part in challenges along with like-minded team members spread across the city. “We’re really trying to get people to join a community effort,” says Joylette Portlock, executive director for Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Taking shorter showers, going for daily walks outside, carpooling to work and taking up community activism can all earn you points.

The competition is free to enter and dedicated players can earn a variety of prizes. In addition to gift certificates for local restaurants and admission to Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, top-ranked players can win a night at the Fairmount Hotel or a 24-hour Tesla test drive.

The “eco challenge” platform that will keep score and connect players was developed by the Northwest Earth Institute in Oregon. Programmers from the institute collaborated with project leaders to create a customized version for the local game.

The competition represents a new approach for Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Speaking to NEXT, Portlock explained that her organization’s main form of advocacy is normally working with companies and local governments to integrate sustainable practices into their operations.

While these discussions often revolve around green design and engineering, they also cover a wide range of health and social policies.

“Social equity and fairness are a big part,” says Portlock.

Often, especially in their talks with civic leaders, the conversations have turned to the challenges in bringing everyday citizens into the process on a grassroots level.

“This project became a way to better connect that audience and do the same kind of engagement work with individuals,” says Portlock tells us.

While it only lasts until March 20, Porlock hopes the competition builds social networks and healthy habits that players will carry into the rest of their lives.

“I would also like to see this competition be a starting place for people,” says Portlock. “It’s a great way to plug people into the great work already being done.”

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.