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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Management > Strategic Planning for Green and Sustainable Management

Just Because We Can...

Every decision we make matters.

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Just because we CAN doesn't mean we SHOULD

Green and sustainable thinking is no small task. Recent conversations have re-emphasized that for me. I grew up on an organic farm and we used well-water, had to haul our trash to the city dump...etc. It was a very different upbringing than most people living in today's cities. And I learned how everything has an impact on our environment. Today, living in the heart of Los Angeles, live is very different -- I don't see how anything is connected to our environment. So I empathize with people who are struggling with the "green and sustainable" mind shift.

We catch glimpses of the impact we have when we hear things like this recent comment on an email discussion list:

I have found that there are many other things that will fit down the drain that you may find a problem. Feminine protection applicators are the worse culprit and are found in every pump station we inspect. Recently we pulled a pair of boy's underwear from the grinder of a pump as it would not shred the garment and jammed the pump. Hair, grease and dental floss make for the toughest rope type material once they enter any collection system and wreak havoc on all types of pumps and float systems.

Our tangible lives mirror our ethical struggles: just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD. We can have an affair -- but the results can be devastating. We can jump out of an airplane, but should we? We can have that extra cocktail...but should we? And should we drive?

The same approach holds for conducting business. Just because it's easy to add chemicals to children's products -- should we? Just because we can dump dirty water into the sewer system without filtering it, should we ignore the impacts?

It's tough making the "right choices". It's always been hard.

Yesterday I read research results that show that the US is 14th in access to the Internet by our citizens. That's 14th in the world. And we invented the Internet. Huh? Is our strength leaving us? How in the world are we sinking in achievement and common capabilities this fast?

My musings lead me back to making "the right choices". Not the easy, highly profitable choices, but choices that keep us strong as a community. And that's where green and sustainable choices come in. They're not highly profitable. They can't be. They're hard to think through and train our compadres to implement. But they matter.

Green is getting easier as our inventors and educators and leaders make systems available for recycling and toxic waste reduction and turning waste into resources, etc.

But it's up to us to do what we can do AND what we should do.

We're the decision makers in this family we call community. It's up to us to shape a better vision, put the system in place, and then do the hard work of implementing it.

Every decision we make matters. Every bottlecap we flush. Every chemical we leave out of our children's toys and food and clothes.

You matter. And what you do matters.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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