How Do You Do It

I purposely stay ambiguous about the exact nature of my employment here, other than the fact that I work in the environmental arena. I'm going to continue to skirt around the subject, out of respect for my employers and the occasionally sensitive issues we deal with. Despite that, I will try to be understandable here. 

Last week I had the good fortune to attend a work-related conference. I really love conferences on environmental stuffs... aside from being interesting and informative, they are sometimes inspiring, and they almost always bring together people from all levels of work: private industry, corporations, nonprofits of various flavors, students and academia, as well as different levels and branches of government. I feel this is ever so important. It is sometimes far too easy to overlook the human face of other groups in the environmental field, to forget that for the most part we all have the same end goals. I try to keep in touch with this notion and to remind others when they need it... but even I slip now and then. Events like this remind us that we're really one big community.

During social time I was speaking with someone that is on a different "side" of the field. She asked me, "How do you work in this field and do what you do? It seems like it would be so frustrating and depressing." I hadn't ever thought of my job this way... but when I sit down and think about it, any job in the environmental field could be viewed like this. I'm not that singularly special.

I feel the answer is easy. You concentrate on the small victories, and the small positives, because these things do matter. You hold onto the things that really inspire you. And remember that if you keep learning, and keep working, maybe someday you will be in the right position at the right time, with the knowledge and skill to make a significant change.  That is my answer. When I gave it, she blinked at me, and said, but of course; that's the only correct answer!

But it is also very important to remember that change is slow. Change is hard. Especially large scale change, or change against the powers that be (and much of the eco movement is very large scale - face it folks, you can't create cultural change in a week). People fight it. Some of them with more money or power than you or I may ever have. And most environmentalists feel so strongly about things that we all want everything to happen NOW. Some of us may even feel like the world will end if NOW becomes later, even though all anyone can do is their best. Still...

Know your expertise. Know your ability and sphere of influence.  Do what you can with what you have, and feel proud of that. And you can always learn to do better.


Wonkadelica said...

Behold, the artificial leaf:


Montelle said...

Good observations! I appreciate your blog. - Montelle