The Environment touches all Industries; no matter what you are doing, the Environment is there.
You may think that if you are an Animator for example, that the environment doesn’t impact you. Well it does, because you are using computers, and those computers are using electricity, and that electricity is being generated most likely from a coal-fired plant. What we need to do is look at ALL the uses of our resources. Whether it’s the electricity, or the paper you use to write on for your animation classes, or the car you drive in to get to your classes (or to work). All of those things are going to impact the environment at some point. So consider those things; it’s called ‘Asset Management’, or ‘Life-Cycle Analysis’. There are a number of terms for how we measure our impacts on our environment. But no matter what you do, no matter what field you are working in, you will have some impact on the environment.
There are a number of things that people do out there that people often don’t consider as part of the environment, but it always comes back to our use of resources and our true cost or impact, which becomes our ‘(Ecological) Footprint’ on this planet.
Regardless of your field of study, the environment has a huge impact. In fact you can make that impact into a business opportunity. In the Fashion industry for example, you may not think you have to worry or understand about the environment. But I know there are many Designers out there who are designing with recycled fabrics. And using different tools and different methods to do what they do. In fact, that becomes more valuable to those people who are environmentally conscious. Environmentally conscious people will pay more for your product just so they are doing the right thing. They also gravitate towards you because you are doing the right thing.
So the environment, no matter what your discipline, should be something you are always considering, because a) it’s the right thing to do and, b) it might actually make you money. For example if you are in the Construction business, and you may be doing some demolition to buildings. Take all that stuff to landfill. Well that is wasted money, because you might actually be able to recover some of the things within that demolition. The copper, the tubing, the concrete itself, that can all be recovered and people will pay you money for that.
So no matter what business you’re in, if you consider the environment, a) you make the world a better place to live in, and b) you can actually make some money too.
What if you are planning to get into Politics? Or any of the Governmental Services, or as a Councillor, or even to be a Leader in your community in some political or governmental way? You should also consider the environment because a) it will help you get elected, and b) but also because it will make you a better leader.
Right now, what we need in Canada and across the planet, is that we need more benevolent dictators. We need people who will say that; ‘we are going to do the right thing for the majority of the people. ‘ Even if 5 percent of people say they don’t want you to do it, we’ll you won’t care, because you know what is right, and will do what is right, and that is the leadership that is required in government today. And to use some of the tools to make that happen, we have to look at the full cost of all of our things and of our resources. For example Water – People sometimes complain about their water rates. Taxes are going up, it’s too expensive for gas taxes, taxes are all up. As a Government leader, you can turn around and say; ‘your taxes are actually being spent to improve our roads, to improve our schools, to improve our hospitals, and to clean our water.’
The United Nations has stated that ‘water is a right’. Well, the water itself may be a right, but the pipes, the infrastructure and the pumps that get that water to your tap are not free. That money has to come from somewhere. So when your water rates go up, you should thank the government, thank the politician that made the water rates go up. Why? Because if you don’t have a problem going to Tim Hortons or the local convenience store and paying $1.50 for 375 mL for a bottle of water, you should have absolutely no problem whatsoever paying for that water to come out of your tap at home, which is many cases a lot cleaner than what you get out of the bottle.
I sometimes have said some controversial things. I was at a Conference a while back and I suggested to the audience that that we are not paying enough for gasoline. Gas is currently somewhere about $1.15/L. I said I thought it should be closer to about $3.00/L! –Gasp-!
The reason for that, is that the $1.15/L price is not really the full cost of the gasoline. Gasoline in Europe for example is well over $2.00/L. In Canada we are lucky because our gas is subsidized. The point being is that is that gasoline at $3.00/L sounds atrocious. But if you took the difference between $1.15/L and $3.00/L of gas and took that revenue which would be in the order of about $60 Billion dollars per year in Canada. New revenue! That money could then be funnelled into mass transit projects, bicycling lanes, walkability of our streets, less cars on the road because few people are going to pay $3.00/L. Get people into transit, more people using transit means more transit can be expanded, more subways can be built and so on. We turn things inside out by putting the true value of things in place, the true value of all commodities.
So it’s important to be bold in your leadership. When you’re studying, think about not just what’s already been said in a textbook, but any new ideas you may have. Push those things forward. Because that’s the only way we will make any change. Not just for the business world and for your career but for our Environment as a whole.