Two Steps Forward

An open letter to the GreenBiz community

Like so many of you, I awoke this morning hoping against hope that last night had been merely a horrible dream. It wasn’t, of course. The 2016 election was a gut punch — a stunning and devastating indictment of decency, fairness and inclusion, one that will long reverberate in ways we can’t yet even imagine. It is, in a word, unfathomable.

But I also awoke with a conviction: The work that we do in sustainable business has never been more important. And that to get through this, it will be critically important, for both our individual sanity and our collective future, that we stay the course, double down, make every program, project, partnership and product count. That’s my commitment, and that of my GreenBiz colleagues, and I sincerely hope you’ll join us.

Those of us of a certain age remember another election, 16 years ago, when a spoiled, ignorant and seemingly callous governor from Texas beat a thoughtful, decent and progressive vice president in a race that was even closer than this one — and was ultimately decided when the Supreme Court halted a recount in Florida that would likely have changed the result. Our disappointment was similarly profound and many of us thought that the United States and the world might not survive the presidency of George W. Bush, let alone the eight years he ultimately served. But we did survive, including the catastrophe of 9/11. We lost precious time on some issues, ended up in a Great Recession, but ultimately regained our footing.

We’ll survive this one, too. It won’t be easy or quick, and much is uncertain. One of the hardest things we’ll face is to remain optimistic and empowered and committed. We’ll lose precious time on some pressing issues, but we, too, will find our footing and move forward.

Working in sustainability is an inherently optimistic, can-do profession. We show up every day with a vision of a positive future and a better world, and we work to develop and share ideas about how we’ll get there. No president — no matter how racist, sexist or ill-informed — can take that optimism from us, lest we succumb to the forces that, for now, want to take America backwards toward an uncertain and unsettling future. We must do whatever we can to maintain that optimism and the can-do spirit of ourselves, our colleagues, our companies, our families and our communities.

So take whatever time you need — hours, days, whatever — to grieve and let the disappointment run its course. It will pass, I promise. Share your feelings with others. Rant, if you must.

Then dust yourself off and dig in. There’s so much that needs to be done. More than ever. And it’s up to us. 

With gratitude and determination,

Tags: