Climate change, coffee cups and credibility

I’ve started blogging again.  It has been a while.

Why did I take such a lengthy break?  My mentor asked me the same quesion and I couldn’t come up with any kind of a rational response.  As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even come up with an irrational response.  So blogging is back.

Let me begin this blogging rebirth with a disclaimer.  Please read it carefully.  I’m hoping it will stave off any discussion about global warming.

This is not about global warming.  I don’t have enough information to formulate an opinion and I don’t have enough scientific background to intelligently analyze what little information I do have.

This is a post about credibility.  But it kicked my thought processes into overdrive when I read recent reports about the ‘People’s Climate March’ held last month in New York.  The reports estimate that approximately 300,000 people banded together to shed light on climate change and global warming.  That’s a lot of people who are committed to cleaning up the environment, recycling and all the other necessary elements required for a sustainable, clean planet.  Kudos to the organizers.  Great turnout.

However, here’s where it gets sticky for me.  The reports of the march included detailed descriptions of the aftermath.  Estimates from the clean up crews indicate that over 150,000 paper and styrofoam coffee  cups, thousands and thousands of paper and cardboard signs, plastic water bottles and tons of other litter were left on the streets by the marchers.

garbageThe definition of the word ‘credibility’ according to the dictionary is “the quality or power of inspiring belief”.  I define ‘credibility’ as doing what you say you are going to do.

Are your actions in alignment with your words?

Perhaps you see where I’m going with this already.  If your stated purpose is to assist in greening the environment, wouldn’t it be a much more credible gesture if you picked up the tons of garbage, much of it recyclable and compostable, that you left on the streets during the march?  That way, your message wouldn’t be diluted by headlines like “protesters branded as hypocrites“.  Much more effective would have been headlines that read “marchers drive home their point by leaving parade route spotless”.

And what of  actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s passionate speech to the United Nations on the same topic?  The words were certainly delivered sincerely, professionally and well intentioned.  But this is the same Leonardo DiCaprio that rented one of the worlds largest luxury yachts for the entire FIFA world cup tournament, a vessel that is reported to use upwards of 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day.

Actions in alignment with words?

Finally, to the point.  We all are judged by our words and our actions.  Not individual words and individual actions.  Words and actions are judged together creating credibility.  And if those words and actions are not in sync, credibility disappears.  As always, my mission is to make you think.  So spend a few minutes thinking about your words and your actions.  Are they in alignment?  Are you just talking the talk or are you ‘walking the talk’?

I love this quote from Hannah Arendt:  “Power is actualized only when word and deed have not parted company”.

Good to be back 🙂

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