When I’m a guest in someone’s home, I try to be quiet and non-disruptive, walk softly, clean up after myself, make my bed in the morning, take extra care not to chip glasses or be rough on things that are not mine, and work diligently to leave things a little better than when I came into the home. I usually do this by leaving a cheery thank you note on the bed for the host or hostess, cleaning one thing extra if I can find anything that might need it, like dusting the windowsill or fluffing up the pillows.
I now realize I approach planet Earth in much the same way. For my entire life, I’ve wanted to protect this wonderful place we inhabit together. I’ve treated it with as much respect as I can muster, and my version of that is treading lightly.
Truly, I am but a temporary guest. We all are. Although what I’ve noticed over the years is that many don’t see it that way. They see it as theirs to treat as they please, with little regard to its overall well-being.
I think this is deeply rooted in the belief that human existence is the only one that matters. Also, the inevitability of death is too much for most of us, so it’s also easier to pretend we’ll live forever and go on living and making plans as if that were true.
But what is that doing to the planet? Has my 30 years of walking softly made any difference? I work really hard to be conscientious, but if it’s so much work, doesn’t that mean there’s a systemic problem? Also, I’m fully aware that while I will sacrifice and work hard to do this, most will not.
In business one of the first things you learn is to systemize. Everything has to have a system, a set way that it’s done, otherwise things will have no consistency. I apply this to so much of my life.
We need better systems. The ones we have in place are outdated and don’t take into account the number of changes we’ve had since current legislation was put into place. But in order to get in front of it, the systems need to apply to the beginning of the supply chain, not just the end.
It goes so much farther past changing lightbulbs and wearing eco-friendly clothes.
None of this is new knowledge. It’s pretty much the thing environmentalist and activists across all subjects usually fight for; improving systems.
The question for me is, how am I going to improve my impact? How do I help create the right systems so that it’s part of normal life and people don’t have to do anything extra? They don’t have to think about it because that’s just the way it is.
These are just my early morning thoughts today as I’m currently treading water, barely keeping my head above it.