Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today and yesterday, twenty years of ignorance and a brief moment of enlightenment.


They say the older you get and the more you learn, the less you are sure of your once convictions. 

I know less today about sustainability than the day I began to appreciate the complexity of doing some good for the world. A decade ago, I was knee deep in existentialism and ontological deconstruction; I’ve since served in a war, gone back to school, got married and started a family; I hoped that was enough to guide me to be a more responsible human being and help shed some lights on this sustainability thing. 

Sustainability to me today is much of a mystery and more of a necessity, there will be my own children one day depending on my choices and actions now. Suddenly, the reason for me to reduce impact and refocus on a more equitable economy while lessening our environmental impact has a context – a personal context and a distinct urgency. 

As for the guidance I seek, it is no more palpable but I am more certain the pulse is there. If this is what growing up feels like, I welcome the change. 

I used to be a college kid liberal and anything to do with the “system” was considerably evil. I could not believe anything that is accepted by the masses, by the grown-ups, could be good; all things counterculture was, to me, just. 

The college kid in me would think Dow Jones is the evil of my world, along with a host of byproducts of Capitalism, Marxism, Utilitarianism, moral Positivism, or whatever "-isms" we come to believe. Now I see these "ism" manifests a pattern of the human condition. These are the principles of a civilization and are each with its own strength and weakness; their byproducts are a necessary part of the engine that runs the bus, we are all on board following a sensible path. 

I wasn't surprised to learn today that Dow Jones has a Sustainability World Index (“DJSI World”). I am ashamed for not having to know this twenty years ago, I would've looked at the world in a whole new perspective. 

According to Wiki, the DJSI launched in 1999 and is the world’s longest running global sustainability benchmark for investors. I graduated high school in 1997 and that makes my ignorance evident only two years into my wild journey to learn about the topic. While I was busy distrusting authority and rebelling with every intellectual tool I can find, the world’s finest minds already got together and began their work.

How foolish I was to think I knew everything and no one is doing anything. If this is what growing up feels like, I welcome the knowledge and I hope I am less of a fool today.

Let’s cut to the chase: yes, I got married a few days ago. You may have noticed the less frequent posts on The Green Elephant; I am trying to catch up with a week worth of absolute non-productivity so please apologize for the lack of attention to my rants and opinions that may amounts to nothing more than mere narcissism.

But getting married made me think of numerous things in my life and why I have chosen the path I have. I immersed in my game of choice as of late: what I have done and what I will do, what choices I make. 
Don’t get me wrong. Getting married to Lauren is one of the best choices I’ve made in my life. I’ve committed myself to a journey that will take my life to accomplish. In Iraq, I learned the value of this choice – things happen in life without warning and without justice, we must make what best we can to help others strengthen the humanity bond and move our collective existence in a positive and sustainable way. Getting married made me think about the right choices I’ve made and the timing of which I made these unavoidable choices. It is never too late to do the right thing and it is never too late to know I am a novice. The important thing is to take steps to move forward, know when I am wrong and change what I can to make amends.

I saw news today about the DJSI World. The article named a list of large global companiesdropping off the list and some that emerged with dignity. My first reaction a year ago would’ve been to criticize Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, FedEx (North America), and the host of their companies no longer listed in the sustainability index. My reaction today is to learn more about the ones that just made the list. Sprint Nextel, U.S., CSX (North America), Mitsubishi Corp. Hang Seng Bank Ltd (Asia Pacific) and Alcatel-Lucent (Europe) ought to be on my short list of companies to research.

If this is what growing up feels like, I enjoy the optimism. I also sense a difference today in that I am less of a radical. I thought the reason Microsoft may have dropped the list is the progressive sustainable practices by its worldly competitions. The bar is simply higher that’s all; or at least that what I would like to assume.

Yes, I do believe this is a bit of growing up for me: knowing that I know less about my opinions but more about my convictions; I know that I am on the right path and making sensible decisions. From the looks of the companies listed on the DJSI World, I’d say I am in good standing; I've always liked Sprint. The rest of my journey will have to be written but I look forward to the learning process and how I may contribute to the progress the world is making towards a sustainable future for my children. 


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