Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Jeff Kubina.[email protected]/60260293/

Originally, I thought I was going to continue building on my Chicago post-occupancy study rant on energy modeling for this week’s column, but then I realized that: 1) I need a break from being a pissant; and 2) I've got a lot to be thankful for.

First and foremost I'm thankful for my family.

I'm in a two start-up household-in addition to my "day job" EcoTech International (ETI) growing like crazy and me in China every month, my wife has launched the Green Schools Alliance, which is also going gangbusters -- so as you might imagine, between the strategic decisions, the minutia and the monthly cash-flow crunch that seems to be a (hopefully temporary) sign of the times, things could get a bit tense. But they really don't and in spite of all of this, we still manage to connect, love and support each other when things get rough. My son is all the things at 10 I'd wish him to be and I love him to pieces. He's smart, funny, polite as all get-out and we have a great time playing together.

I'm thankful for my father, who taught me to be a good person and the value of hard work and integrity, and that he is still going strong in his 70s. I'm thankful for my mother's fierce love for and protection of me while she was alive and for imparting to me a voracious curiosity about all things cool. After spending the first 15 years of our lives trying to find creative ways to annoy or kill each other, my brother is as good a friend as anybody could ask for. I love my mother-in-law (seriously, I do) and my nieces get along with my son like a house afire.

I am blessed with friends who, though separated by time and distance, are there when I periodically touch down to earth.

My mind boggles when I think of the incredible teachers and mentors in life, work and school who have taken time to challenge and stretch my mind and to nurture and grow me as a person. I only hope I can give back a fraction of what I've received.

I think I'm healthy, though two back surgeries and a six-week bout of Lyme disease this summer may indicate otherwise. Anyway, I'm grateful that my body so far has taken all the time zone and travel abuse I give it without too much grumbling.

Finally, I'm thankful for the opportunity for service -- first from the nonprofit perspective and now in the private sector.

My 21 years at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was so energizing and exciting working with some of the smartest and most committed people I've ever encountered.

While at NRDC, I became involved with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is like having a second family and through which I have met some of the most amazing human beings on the planet.

I constantly marvel at the fierce dedication and hard work of our team at ETI and their devotion to our mission of "better buildings, better living." It shows that passion, profit and principle are not mutually exclusive.

I'm also really privileged to work with the great folks at Greener World Media and I appreciate the opportunity to exercise my right brain every week.

I was on a Green Schools Alliance-sponsored panel last night with Andy Revkin, the senior environmental reporter for the New York Times and DotEarth founder and blogger in chief, who said that now was a great time to be alive and I'd have to agree.

In spite of the present and looming environmental peril, we have the ability to be engaged with our destiny and to influence others as never before. The need for urgent action and the global platform afforded to us by the Internet means that everyone has the opportunity to be a hero.

I define a hero as someone who does the right thing no matter what the odds are stacked against him or her. Lassie notwithstanding, I think that heroism is a unique human capacity and it is an attribute we all need to manifest now in spades.

So let me close with a huge THANK YOU! to current and latent heroes everywhere. Keep doing what you're doing -- it DOES make a difference and all creatures here now and the trillions to come really need you.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Rob Watson is the executive editor of You can reach Rob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @KilrWat

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Jeff Kubina.