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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Developing Your Sustainable Intelligence


One definition of intelligence is: behavior modified by experience.  As children, we learn about right and wrong through example and experience, then over the years we become more intelligent in our decisions and our actions.  We gather knowledge to overcome and combat obstacles presented to us in the form of problems and hardships.  The accumulation of knowledge leads us to a successful path in our lives – that’s the theory, anyway.

In today’s world of sustainable living, with emphasis on a more conscious populace concerned with the protection of our planet and its climate, we need to think about educating people in the practices and processes of environmental protection.  I define sustainable living as being concerned with increased efficiency to reduce energy use, decreased water consumption and protection of natural water resources, protection of virgin resources by reusing or recycling, protecting open spaces and providing healthy and safe environments for our children and ourselves.

Our grandparents understood hardship and made sacrifices in order to achieve many of their goals.  They scrimped and saved and hoarded items for that rainy day.  The populace up to the post-WWII era understood that the good things in life won’t last forever, so they adapted their expectations to their environment.  It’s important to consider returning to that knowledge base and show others that acting locally can affect things globally.  We all want what’s best for our children and our future, but ignoring runaway consumption and the threat of energy crisis and global pollution isn’t the answer.

The marketplace to educate individuals in sustainable living has exploded in recent years.  The increase in green building has nationally spawned over 100 different building rating certifications, from such groups like the US Green Building Council, to the National Association of Home Builders and the Department of Energy, to name a few.  Along with the “green” movement has come a demand for trained “green” professionals in almost every field to every corporate office in America.  The need for knowledge of sustainable living is necessary in almost every workplace.  The job of Sustainability Officer is a new term being used in boardrooms and classrooms.  Accreditations can be gained through training and testing for several new positions, including LEED Accredited Professional, Certified Green Professional, HERS rater, BIM specialist, Home Energy Systems Auditor and dozens more.  Each of these accreditations provides specialized education that increases an individual’s marketability and relevance in today’s emerging green marketplace.

Many of my students are professionals who have decided to “re-invent” themselves by becoming “green” professionals.  I have had hospitality officers, corporate CEOs, disaster and remediation companies, hospital administrators, high school students to master degree candidates all take courses in sustainable education.  Homeowners and children are now being added to the educational outreach by schools and local groups.  In Greenwich, Connecticut, the Florin Family Environmental Center containing the Bruce Museum Seaside Center is opening its green doors to the public, inviting them to learn about the environment.  Almost every town and village is embracing that we cannot continue down the path of over consumption.

Here are some facts:

•    By the year 2040 there will be an additional two billion people on Earth, all vying for the same natural resources.

•    The supply of fossil fuels is not infinite and will eventually run out.  When the last suck of the last straw in the last well is drawn, there will be no more oil or gas or coal.

•    The production of oxygen is mainly created by green plants, so why would we continue to destroy the one thing that sustains us?

What can you do?

Check out the continuing education classes at your local community college and take a class, go to a lecture, attend a green networking event, check out a farmers’ market or green fair or watch industry-specific documentaries.  Get involved in your garden club or local chamber of commerce.  Most of all – read.  The amount of literature and online resources available concerning the environment is infinite.  The information is available and it can enhance your career, improve your life and make your home, school and office a healthier more productive environment.


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