July 4th weekend is an occasion on which I like to do a kind of six-month gut check to reflect on what has gone well and what needs work while barbecuing and spending time with the family. So here are three brief perspectives, one work-related, one global and one personal.
More and more, I am coming to appreciate the potential of the work I am currently doing with Greenopolis to bring about revolutionary change in the field of recycling and resource management. The new programs and infrastructure we are creating are already starting to make a real difference, which to me is very cool.
On a global basis, communications technologies have created an unprecedented worldwide window of instant access and awareness that is already having a profound impact. The Web and social media have already begun to change the lives of people who previously would have had little in the way of outside influence, from the Egyptians I met in Doha to a child in Botswana who asked a friend of mine if he can have her e-mail address. This is helping contribute to a power shift from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere that is happening right before our eyes, which I will offer further reflections on in the coming months.
On a personal level, the barbecues this year were so tempting that for the first time in over a decade I found myself putting away a burger complete with the bun and all the trimmings. And that got me to wondering whether my environmental concern and, indeed, guilt has been causing me to deprive myself of things that I used to enjoy without giving it so much as a thought. In any case, it made me think that perhaps I ought to cut myself some slack when it comes to indulging in such “guilty pleasures.” Now that doesn’t mean, mind you, that I intend to start chowing down on just anything. Ahi sushi, for instance, is still off the table — but by all means, bring on the ribs.