Monthly Archives: September 2013

Equal Time

For those of you who watch the news, here is my attempt to present both sides of the story…  From my perspective, when it comes to preserving life on our planet we are all on the same side.  I am no theoretical mathematician; however, since most humans don’t live underground we are all on the same sphere.  Perspectives and priorities may change, but we’ve always been and hopefully always will be tooling along on our planet.

I have relied on the work of others to grow environmental stewardship on our campus, and one of my favorites is the Story of Stuff.  The fact that this is my first mention since starting Mainstream Green should not diminish how much I respect the entire body of work as an educational tool.  Check them out, educate yourself, and work for change.

The reason I mention them here is that while looking for shoes for my kids (priced and built to last), I arrived at my local Kohl’s in St. Joseph, Mo and was encouraged by what I saw.  Now while I ultimately found no shoes, what I did find was an interesting solution to a problem that has plagued retailers for decades.  Flags, price points, labels, in-store marketing; signage of all shapes and sizes creates a lot waste.  They may have been doing this for a long time, because honestly I can’t remember the last time I was in this particular store, but it was nice to see this:

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Electronic Price Point with a generic heavy reusable Sale sign.  Programmable and placed on every rack in the store.  Perfect? No.  Better than the thousands of printed paper labels and signage being used in every other large retail outlet… Absolutely!  My hat goes off to Kohl’s and other retailers that have at least begun to address waste in their operation.  (Did you know that Wal-Mart is all in for Composting?)

For sustainability as a whole, retailers have a long way to go; but then so do we.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

“Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward.”

STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY MEETING:  Thursday September 19th in the Union Living Room.


Traditions and Transitions

Sustainability is a pretty broad topic, touching just about every aspect of our daily lives.  Behaviors change, and what is “normal” becomes something else.  Conventional wisdom changes according to the people participating.  OK no philosophy lessons today, but there have been a number of changes in our daily lives that recognize the need to stick around for tomorrow.

1979… “I’m not wearing that seatbelt son, people can get burned up in a car accident if they’re strapped in; and besides if we go in the river we won’t be able to get out.”

I think about that conversation that I had with my grandfather and reflect on the real challenges that face people working for change.  How do you provide the necessary experience to educate people to embrace things that may be contrary to what they’ve “just always done”.

In 1982 I rode “The Seatbelt Convincer”…really; a name that only the Fairfax County and Virginia State Police could come up with.  It was the front seat of a cruiser on rails that simulated a 10 mph frontal impact…  Not very fast, but extremely convincing.

What does this have to do with the environment, sustainability, or going GREEN….  Nothing.  Everything.  “Dad! Stop! I can’t get my seatbelt buckled!… “Seatbelt Daddy.”  “Isn’t your seatbelt supposed to be on before we go?”

Conversation, education, and behaviors are the foundations of Conventional Wisdom.  Hopefully being GREEN won’t take three generations, but we can make it happen.  We always do, when armed with experience and knowledge.