Friday, January 28, 2011

Hypocrisy, Greenwashing...Walking the Talk (or The Safe Path to Green)

Analysis Paralysis was a blog topic here a few months ago. It explored how paralyzing it can be to make green choices when faced with analyzing the myriad of alternatives, consequences and unknowns for every green option.

“Hypocrisy Horror” is equally-paralyzing for we green folk. Many Museums, Zoos, Gardens and Aquariums are fearful that they’ll be criticized for greenwashing the not-green activities when highlighting green changes.

They are right. They probably will be. It's a professional hazard.

Take a moment, after you read this, to read a post from Sami Grovner who writes on Business + Politics for Defence of Hypocrisy - In Search of The Sustainable Double Standard

Sami eloquently tackles the conundrum “how can we tell others to be green, when we’re not perfectly green ourselves?” Sami’s recommendation: remember that “Just as there are very few true eco-villains in this world, green saints are hard to come by too….”

But naysayers seem to be on heightened alert for people and institutions not “walking" every square centimeter of "the talk”.

So, what are your options?
• Say nothing while getting your house in order but not educating the public.
• Develop green momentum and start leaking green successes while educating the public through stealth messaging.
• Talk about what you've done, what you're doing, and what you're going to do -- all while educating the public.
Obviously the first is not an option. Each institution has an obligation to educate the public about environmental sustainability at what ever level is appropriate for its mission and community. Very soon environmental sustainability will rank up there with health and safety; failure to educate others about, and act on, environmental sustainability will be unacceptable professional practice.

Option two is appropriate for some institutions, but is limited in its effectiveness for the institution and its public, not to mention our world.

Option three is best practice. Talking about what you've done what you're doing and what you're going to do allow you to acknowledges your institution’s successes, current professional practice, and aspirations. It identifies achievements, provides an update on your current efforts, and alerts others to your next intentions.

Certainly naysayers will still find areas to criticize, but sensible folk will not.

And by laying out your past, present and green future, you are providing a sample pathway for other institutions and individuals to follow.

You'll be walking the talk and inviting them along the green path with you.

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