Small simple steps often make the biggest impact on the planet - and you don't have to start a commune to take them.

Small simple steps often make the biggest impact on the planet - and you don't have to start a commune to take them.

That's the idea behind Green Drinks, a monthly happy-hour meeting that brings together ordinary people trying to kick-start extraordinary change. Columbus is part of a national network where the discussion groups have thrived.

"The bulk of society does care about the planet," said Erin Chacey, director of Green Columbus, a nonprofit that supports sustainable living in Central Ohio. "They're just busy people. If they can fit in a happy hour, that's great."

Chacey estimates that between 30 and 50 convene each month to meet, greet and learn new perspectives on the environment.

Socializing and imbibing is followed by a short presentation, a Q&A session and follow-up chill time. This month's event will include a screening of a recent documentary about climate change. Admission costs $5.

"The way it's set up is brilliant," Chacey explained. "While they're there, people get a 20-minute eco-bite. It supports sustainable lifestyles and encourages environmental issues in a non-threatening, non-doom-and-gloom way."

In lockstep with that mission is "Cool It," which screens tonight at 7 p.m. Director Bjorn Lomborg's 2010 documentary takes the middle ground between denying environmental issues and fear-mongering. Chacey said its vibe exactly matches the theme for Green Columbus' upcoming Earth Day celebration: Lighten Up.

"We want people to think about their environmental footprint and reducing it," she added. "But we want them to lighten up in respect to the conversation about what it takes to carry out these goals."