Archive for March, 2007

Mission Statement

2002 was an important year. I was choosing a university and a study program, my choices governed largely by teenage idealism and the desires of changing the world and making a difference. I managed to shake off the influence of ER in my career choice, and rationalized that saving the Environment was a worthier cause than saving individuals. So after careful pondering I decided to go for the provincial “farmer’s” university, and the most green sounding program name I could find, Environmental and Natural Resource Engineering.

However, it was when I decided to dedicate my life to Environment and Natural Resources, that my my enthusiasm waned, my idealism faded, and my environmentalist dreams were devastated. Whereas I had been a fierce recycler up to then, my newly acquired knowledge threatened my most rooted greenist beliefs. It was then I discovered that all those carefully washed and recycled yogurt packages were thoroughly picked out and discarded at the sorting stations. I was told that, sometimes, the impact of recycling paper was worse than the impact if making new, virgin paper from murdered trees, and that dishwashers were, actually, water saving.

And, I have to admit, the anti-environmentalist mind-set that surrounded me forced me into conformity. The word Environmentalist had a very strong negative connotation. It was associated with tree-huggers, Greenpeace boats and weed-smoking, hemp-wearing rasta nuts (not that I think there is anything wrong with these things). So that’s how choosing the Environment made me think like an Engineer, and not like an Environmentalist. An engineer is a manager. Of waste, water, waste water, air emissions and things of the sort but especially of People, all for a not-so-little sum of money. An engineer doesn’t care about the birdies or the fishies. An engineer cares about his job. He cares about having HIS waste collected with the highest possible efficiency, that is, the quickest, cheapest and best. The environment is not an end of itself. It is a quality indicator.

So as an engineer, I learned not to care about the birdies and the fishies, but mostly, learned that one person could not make an impact unless his/her efforts were accompanied by a policy, a campaign and a collective effort. There is no point in doing something yourself, unless everyone else does it too. And that’s why no one ever does anything. We are all waiting for someone else to do it…first.

But now, behold, here is the point of this blog: I have been inspired! I have found all these people on the Internet who WERE actually doing something. Suddenly I felt that I was part of the minority who does nothing, rather than part of the countless people who DO. And those who DO are way cooler than those who don’t (no global warming pun intended).

So, inspired by No Impact Man, among others and, maybe, to some extent, by My Name is Earl (yes, the TV show), I have decided to do something, rather than nothing, to be part of the solution and not part of the pollution. So, I hereby proudly announce to the world, I am coming out of the closet!!! I confess… I am an environmentalist, always have been, even when I thought I wasn’t.

I will report on my struggle to, as No Impact Man puts it, “put my money where my mouth is”. So what’s going to happen? Next, I will define my rules of the game, and see how far I can go to green up my act. I know that so far I have been far from living according to environmentalist ideals, but I am willing to change (and drag my boyfriend along for the ride)..

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March 26, 2007 at 2:15 pm 6 comments


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