On Personal Sustainabilty

A few days before Memorial Day, my store manager, Barry, asked me if I’d accompany him to a PSP retreat as our store’s Captain. I didn’t really think I was right for it — I’m sure there are associates in our store with better sustainability practices than I have — but I agreed and looked forward to the retreat, and it just so happens that it was earlier today.

For those who are not in the know, the Personal Sustainability Project is a grassroots movement spearheaded by Wal-mart which aims to promote an improvement in the quality of life of not only us, but also our children, grandchildren, and so on. This is done through Personal Sustainability Practices which are little things that people can do to be more sustainable — either on a global or personal level. These activities might be to exercise 3 times a week, to recycle cans, to quit smoking, or to start a recycling program in a community. As was said today at the retreat, the sky’s the limit!

However, I wasn’t quite expecting the magnitude of being nominated to be our store’s Lead Captain. Well, as the title suggests, there will be other Captains — 9 of them, to be precise. And tomorrow I get to start recruiting. Every store in the company — all the thousands of them — will have groups of Captains working within the store and even with the community to help, well, improve the quality of life there. The goal is to get 100% enrollment into the Personal Sustainability Program, which basically means that we want every associate to have some practice which they are doing to help sustainability. As I said, it doesn’t matter how big or small that is.

As Lead Captain, I get to participate in weekly conference calls with our Market Captain and the Lead Captains from other stores in our district. I also get to participate in a mini-retreat with the Market to train the other Captains on what all the Lead Captains learned today at the retreat.

I guess I’ll find out if I’m “right” for the role of Lead Captain in time, but I’m going to do my best. Since being asked to do it, I have been trying to be more aware of how things I do in my daily life affect not only my own life but also the globe. For instance, did you know that a plastic grocery sack you throw away today will still be in that landfill about 1,000 years from now? Those things take over a millennium to decompose, and countless millions of them are being thrown away all the time!

It is also interesting how this is actually tying into my faith. I have heard quite a few Christians state that environmentalism and such things aren’t things Christians need to be concerned with. But if the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, I think we ought to be all the more concerned with how we manage it. If the earth is the Lord’s, how are we showing Him our gratitude for it? By causing the extinction of over 5 dozen species of plant and animal a day? By dumping countless thousands of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere a day?

I don’t think so. I hope you don’t either. Rather our use of the blessings of the earth constitute our stewardship thereof. Are we squandering the blessings? Are we robbing future generations of them?

I started a thread on the Fellowship Hall with some ideas for a sustainability practice and other information. Check it out. And remember: Conservation & sustainability aren’t just for long-haired, sandle-wearing, tie-died tree-huggers. ;)

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