Work, spirituality and the environment
Posted by Erik on October 16, 2007
[NOTE: this post is part of Blog Action Day, and represents my official post for the week.]
I’ve been whining a bit recently about a giant project at work that has been eating into my blogging (and sleeping, eating and breathing…) time, but I haven’t bothered to say anything about what it is. This is the deal – I’m part of a team at my Fortune 500 company that is putting together a proposal to increase the rate at which we donate our no-longer-supported computers to charity. I saw the chance six months ago to be a part of this and jumped on it, as an opportunity to put my environmental and social concerns into action in a way that might make a really significant difference not only to people, but to the environment. (Fortune 500 companies use a LOT of computers, and the longer they stay in use the less they have to be recycled.)
This has made me think in very specific ways about a question that I wrestle with pretty regularly, and I think a lot of other people do too – how can I (appropriately) embody my religious self at work? Internal environmental activism is proving to be a powerful way to do this – and it has connected me with others in the company who share the same passion, and are actually forming working groups to research and propose ways that the company can become “greener”… groups that are getting attention and support at fairly high levels of management.
Do you use CFLs, minimize your energy and water usage, and so on? Yeah, me too. And it’s important to be eco-conscious at the individual level; but consider how much bigger the difference if an entire company started doing these things. To paraphrase from part of our presentation – individual environmentalism makes a difference, but corporate environmentalism can make a change.
This is why I have no patience with the far-left wing of the environmental movement – the folks that demonize corporations and their executives, loudly, en masse and without exception. As a result of which, they not only fail to understand what they might be able to get the companies to agree to if they were willing to persuade and negotiate, but actually poison the well for the rest of us by creating a climate of distrust that makes it harder to get a hearing when we’re trying to work for change from within.
Do you work for a company? Take a good look around and see what you can do, however small it may seem, to help turn the company in a greener direction. You never know who might be willing to listen.