You may remember my remarks in a previous column on the impact Master Gunnery Sergeant Daly, our nearly monosyllabic drill instructor, had on our recruit platoon. Well, let me add another from my nearly inexhaustible list of “Sir-Yessir” memorabilia.
There we were, 30 well-shorn, skinny, worn-to-a-frazzle, not-yet Marines, lined up for a junk-on-the-bunk inspection, when Sir-Yessir informed us that instead of the coziness of our washed, waxed, and groomed barracks, we were going to spend the next three hours groveling around ice-stiffened mud in our freshly washed, starched, polished, and spit-shined finery.
“In the beginning there was the word,” he explained with Biblical authority. “But the word was changed, so get your tails out on the grinder…NOW!”
We did, and when, after we had what we thought was all the fun we could possibly have in muck and mire on the wind-plastered shores of the Potomac, he explained that there was far more happiness awaiting us in the previously scheduled inspection that we were now about to flunk.
“Stuff happens,” he explained for those of us too retarded to have noticed it in our past lives, but I can promise you it was a lesson none of us was bound to forget.
So what about change?
The only thing you need to establish the velocity of change in all walks of life is to pick any convenient date in your personal history and compare your vision of the world then and now. Even if your rearward horizon is only a year or two, isn’t it amazing how few things have remained relatively static?
When you focus minutely on your role within the confines of waste management, you may even be shocked to see what activities have emerged, grown, mutated, and perhaps even died in what, in perspective, is the mere blink of an eye. Care to count a few venues? For starters, contrast today’s wastestream compared with that of only a decade ago. Then look at our approach to its collection, sorting, processing, diversion, and even disposal in just half that period of time. Now consider the societal milieu in which we operate and the public’s expectations for how waste is managed, and the extent to which it feels compelled to be affected by the process.
But all that stuff is mild compared with what we have in store for us now as we enter into the realm in which the concepts of waste management are totally rewritten in the lexicon of resource management. Moreover, it’s not enough that you get a handle on it, but that your people do as well.
Grabbing Hold of 2020
Just as you brought with you an array of knowledge, skills, and social agenda different from that of your predecessors when you arrived on the scene, so too will those who follow in your footsteps. But is it enough to say “good luck” when the time comes for you to make way for the next generation?
I can think of no surer way for exposing your potential successors to the future they will inherit than to offer them the challenge of deriving the greatest benefit from the materials that come into your activity’s possession. Give them the opportunity for making at-risk decisions as part of their fleeting-up experience. True, this approach is not without danger, but it’s the only way you can assure yourself that your organization will have the continuity it needs.
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
January 26th, 2012
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Public Outreach Campaign
Change starts with people. Whether your focus is stormwater pollution, energy conservation, pavement restoration, or recycling, a successful public outreach campaign resonates with your target audience and leads to long-lasting behavior change. Join Erica Hooper of SGA to explore a proven 5-step approach to crafting a successful outreach campaign based on real-world examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Read more…
February 9th, 2012
Differentiating & Monitoring Groundwater Plumes
Threatened by various plumes of mobile contaminants, urban potable groundwater resources require groundwater professionals to not only determine the source of individual plumes, but apportion the contributions of multiple sources within a composite plume. Join William G. Soukup, P.G. of Cornerstone Environmental Group LLC to discuss the analytical and interpretive techniques for differentiating plumes and their sources, as well as tips to improve long-term plume monitoring and management. Read more…