Speak Up- a post on how to combat real or perceived apathy to the environment by simple conversations and actions

How to make an impact on improving environmental behavior and practice through simple conversations with businesses you interact with. Many more great posts on this site about protecting the environment in a practical and personal way. I highly recommend this blog for all. Even if you don’t believe in global warming, I do think you can see that we reduce pollution by conserving energy and other resources. This blog, Simple Green Choices, gives many practical solutions and a highly engaging discussion of how to help the environment, irrespective of your political leanings.

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  1. I read through the examples and the first thought I had was that you were talking to the wrong person. You were talking to front line employees sometimes making minimum wage. They can’t impact the decisions you’re talking about. In some cases, it makes their life easier if you take your business somewhere else.

    I also wonder what you do when you don’t have a choice to go somewhere else. As you check into the hotel, do you find that the entire town is booked up with a convention?

    Let’s try something a little more out of the box. The one place you have a lot of control over is your own house. So, say to your employer..it’s much more energy efficient if I do my work from home. I can telecommute and then I don’t need a car. (Most office jobs don’t need to be done in a central office.)

    Or, there’s no need to be in a classroom setting to learn anything. It’s really one of the least effective teaching methods. I’ll talk all my courses online.

    Once we get out of the central city concept which is a concept of a hundred years ago, you don’t need to worry so much about roads, cars or even mass transit. Mostly, it just requires a change of mindset.

    I’ve done business around the world for years without leaving the house.

  2. Steve, excellent points about the practical issues. Thanks very much for the detailed feedback.

    I must admit I had some similar thoughts when reading the post that I blogged (about how communication needed to be made at the right level, say, with hotel staff), but I thought that the overall message from Simple Green Choices was a very good one: let’s not allow stories of apathy to affect us negatively or cause us to give up trying to improve the environment, and let’s recognize that practical contributions can be made in many areas of our “regular life”. How and where one “takes the subject on” will be a personal decision.

    Other stories on the Simple Green Choices blog are highly recommended.

    Regarding travel- it can be unnecessary. On the other hand, so much of the misunderstanding and conflict today still comes from a lack of perspective (by many of us) about other cultures, whether they are two miles away or two continents away. At times, nothing is more powerful than meeting people and seeing their cultures first-hand. It helps immeasurably to have reminders that we are all human, no matter where we live or what we look like.

    The same goes for studying: it can be done on-line, and this can be absolutely wonderful. However, in some cases, there is no replacement for the value of direct personal interaction between student and teacher. This contact becomes essential for things like music, art, science labs or any area where discussion or hands-on work is essential.

    E-mail and similar electronic methods can be unbelievably poor for communication. I have suffered through video conferences between Italy and the US, for example. Sure, we saved a lot, but we didn’t communicate well. This can be a particular problem for people who don’t already know each other (and/or trust each other).

    In the case of studying and learning, efficiency is not necessarily a substitute for effectiveness or excellence. The best method is going to depend on available resources and people. Some teachers have a charismatic ability to bring a subject to life that I doubt travels as well as one might like to an audience that may be multitasking while watching on-line or on TV, though the power of distance learning is not to be dismissed, especially when there are no reasonable alternatives.

    Thanks again for your insights. The mindset change you refer to is one we should all evaluate.


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