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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Eliminate the what?
May 7, 2008 - 5:47pm

My job just got a lot harder. At least, if it didn't, I'm missing something significant.

Part of what I'm charged with doing is to raise awareness of sustainability issues on campus. Among students, staff, faculty, pretty much everybody. But I just got told that I can't convey any bad news. Not just that I can't conduct intense existentialistic doom and gloom sessions which leave everyone in attendance wondering only which method of suicide is most ecologically responsible. Not just that I can't present compendia of information where the bad outweighs the good. I'm instructed that I can't, in my awareness efforts on campus, convey any single datum which is, in and of itself, bad news. Greenback wants to stay positive, here. We've got our recruitment and development efforts to consider. No news is good news, and bad news is no news, hence bad news is good news and I better make sure I present it that way!

Now, every marketing effort I've ever been in has focused on solving customer problems. If we could get (or facilitate) a clear problem definition from the customer, it made selling whatever solution we had on tap that much easier.

I've been looking at sustainability in similar terms. In order to sell, or facilitate, or encourage a set of sustainability solutions, I've been focusing on clarifying and communicating a set of sustainability problems which pertain to Greenback (some of them, admittedly, only indirectly). Solutions (or steps toward solutions) too, but problems first. Now I'm told that I have to sell solutions for which there are no clearly defined problems. Kind of like selling the cure for which there is no disease!

Or am I missing something, here?

 

 

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