April is gone, CultureMap's Green Living series is over and my Herculean assignment of turning our office green is done.
With the close of the series, I’ve got to wonder if the CultureMap office has reached the end of being green. It’s kind of like the extreme-conservative kid phenomena — anytime you force someone to behave against their desires, there’s bound to be a push back.
At the core of green change, or any life change, there has to be the conviction to follow through with it. Take rinsing out food containers. If you don’t see those containers as your responsibility to deal with, then you’ll probably do what’s easiest — chuck them in the trash or let the City of Houston deal with it.
If you displace responsibility, then you will displace any new thoughts, feelings or ideas that could help you change your behavior.
That’s my concern for the office, but I’m hopeful that at least some of the changes will stick. CultureMap's marketing director Carey Kirkpatrick made a point to tell me she's bought new recycling bins for our new office (hurray!). This is exciting (yes, I get excited about recycling), but it won’t matter if people don't use them.
Still, we have a number of long term recyclers on staff and with the help of a little peer pressure, I’m hopeful that the changes won't slip away. I feel pretty secure the younger crew is onboard. It seems the younger you are, the more likely you are to recycle.
One of columnist Steven Thomson’s first questions when he started working here was “Where’s the recycling?" He got blank stares. Social media maven Fayza Elmostehi and columnist Caroline Gallay have also been pro changes this month. Fayza was super ready to carpool (unfortunately she was alone in this passion and carpools of one kind of defeat the purpose). Caroline made two trips to the recycling center (even if she made these trips only after being annoyed at being called out for her anti-public transportation stance in earlier stories).
Still, gold star for Caroline.
With the older crew, Editor-in-Chief Clifford Pugh is the best recycler they’ve got. He’s generally on his game, but he often frames Chris Baldwin by chunking his Starbucks coffee cups into Chris’ trash bin, which is also still often dotted with Chris' Coke cans. Chris doesn't drink coffee though, so as frame jobs go this is like Lindsay Lohan trying to blame her wild partying on Joe Jonas and his purity ring.
In fact, it's such a bad attempt, that you have to wonder if Clifford still doesn't realize that those paper Starbucks cups can be recycled — after a full month of green stories.
As much flack as I’ve given Shelby Hodge, she really does a good job of at least getting the recycling to the crude containers. Things don’t get rinsed out, but on the flip side, she’s been pretty good about tolerating the recycling mess that builds up in our tiny office. (And by pretty good, I mean Shelby's restrained herself from flinging the whole mountain's mess of old containers and a blue Snuggie through a window.)
By April 30, even Thomson was taking cracks at the recycling setup, noting that trying to get a new plastic cup into one of the overflowing cardboard boxes was like playing Jenga.
On a positive note, we now have recycling, and it's getting filled! That's a step in the right direction for us and I'm proud of that. To really know our progress though, I need to give it another month.
Will CultureMap's office recycling last through May? Or even through Monday? One thing's certain, I'm done playing bad cop. I’m officially retiring as Recycle Nazi (so excited about that).
It's now up to each individual to decide how much they care for the earth. Though if anyone wants to be nagged ...