July 4th weekend is an occasion on which I like to do a kind of six-month gut check to reflect on what has gone well and what needs work while barbecuing and spending time with the family. So here are three brief perspectives, one work-related, one global and one personal.
More and more, I am coming to appreciate the potential of the work I am doing with Greenopolis to bring about revolutionary change in the field of recycling and resource management. The new programs and infrastructure we are creating are already starting to make a real difference, which to me is very cool.
On a global basis, communications technologies have created an unprecedented worldwide window of instant access and awareness that is already having a profound impact. The Web and social media have already begun to change the lives of people who previously would have had little outside influence, from the Egyptians I met in Doha to a child in Botswana who asked a friend of mine if he can have her e-mail address. This is creating a power shift from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere that is happening right before our eyes! I’ll offer further reflections on this in the coming months.
On a personal level, the barbecues this year were so tempting that for the first time in over a decade I found myself putting away a burger complete with the bun and all the trimmings. It got me to wondering whether my environmental concern- and yes, guilt- has been causing me to deprive myself of things that I used to enjoy without giving it a thought. In any case, it made me think that I ought to cut myself some slack when it comes to indulging in such “guilty pleasures.” This doesn’t mean that I intend to start chowing down on just anything. Ahi sushi, for instance, is still off the table — but by all means, bring on the grass fed ribs once in a while.