Allison Paradise

Published On


Page Range

pp. 329-356

Print Length

27 pages

13. Asking Why

Cultivating Eco-Consciousness in Research Labs

  • Allison Paradise (author)
Scientists question everything about the natural world. They work tirelessly in pursuit of understanding how and why the world behaves as it does. And yet, as a community, scientists rarely question their own behaviour in the lab. Equipment is often left on 24/7, protocols using hazardous chemicals remain unchanged for decades and freezers are filled with samples that haven’t been used since the turn of the century. These behaviours become habits, passed down through the generations. The following chapter by Allison Paradise demonstrates how My Green Lab, a non-profit founded by scientists, has helped to build a culture of sustainability by helping researchers see their behaviour in a new light. By encouraging people who work in labs to ask ‘why’, My Green Lab has been instrumental in changing the culture of scientific research. This approach has led to significant reductions in energy, water and waste in labs across North America. The laboratory sustainability movement in research has also inspired innovation in manufacturing, with laboratory product suppliers starting to design their products with sustainability in mind. This approach to sustainability – encouraging people to critically examine their behaviour and make conscious choices – is a model that could be replicated in any industry. As the work of My Green Lab demonstrates, if we want to enact lasting changes, we need to start by looking inward and questioning our habits and behaviours. When we do this it can have a profound effect on ourselves and on our planet.


Allison Paradise