Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I find this milestone to be especially significant for at least two reasons.
Fifty years ago, my late father shared 10 simple words of career guidance over dinner when I was just 11 years old: “The best way to prosper yourself is to prosper others.” That advice has become the touchstone of my professional career, particularly over the last three decades.
Moreover, it was exactly 30 years ago today when I attended a four-day conference in Berkeley, CA marking the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. As I’ve written in this blog before, it was an event that so changed my worldview that I decided to leave the shopping center industry and return to Wharton with the goal of starting an energy-efficiency consulting firm immediately thereafter.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with all of our readers that despite the tremendous challenges we see in the area of environmental protection, human health, and the economy, we all need to stay focused, optimistic and action-oriented.
In the words of Tony Robbins, our success in life depends on...
- What we choose to focus on
- What meaning we choose to give it
- What we choose to do about it
Note that the word “choose” appears at every level of that dynamic. We can choose to view the swirl of somber news about the pandemic and all of the associated economic turbulence with great anxiety and even panic. As for our industry, we can wring our hands and wonder what will happen to energy efficiency programs and other initiatives related to climate change in the wake of this present chaos.
Or we can remember that past pandemics were tamed. That the four past recessions in the US lasted an average of only 10 months. That savvy business owners have proven they can still move forward by confidently sailing directly into economic headwinds. And that taking that tack allows top performers to not only prevail but actually prosper, with some gaining market share and emerging from the chaos even stronger than before.
If you know where to look, you’ll find well-documented connections between energy efficiency initiatives and powerful non-utility-cost financial and non-financial benefits that help businesses become more competitive, profitable and valuable. Without a doubt, enhanced efficiency helps businesses regain their footing in the wake of an economic downturn like the one we’re currently experiencing.
You can choose what to focus on, what meaning to give it, and what to do about it. You can choose positive action over paralyzing anxiety.
In the spirit of embracing hope on all fronts on this Earth Day, I’d like to call your attention to the new documentary called, “Jane Goodall: The Hope” that premieres today. Jane has been a matriarchal figure in our family for a long time. Our daughter was named after her, and we’ve had the good fortune to meet her on several occasions. Jane’s tireless work on behalf of the chimpanzees and other environmental causes continues to be an inspiration to us all. I definitely recommend you check out her latest documentary.