My Story

First, I should say that I've wanted to save the world ever since high school. But unlike now, at that time, I didn't know how I wanted to do it, I just knew I wanted to make a difference. I decided to major in politics to see where that would take me, but eventually I decided I didn't want to pursue it. I don't regret choosing that major however, as it taught me many enlightening things. In fact, it was responsible for much of my intellectual growth.

Towards the end of my study, I started to get interested in the environment because I decided that it was the basic necessity for mankind's existence, the bottom of Maslov's hierarchy of needs if you will. But what field in environmentalism I didn't know at the time so I started to read about a variety of green topics including food, energy and policy. Every field I learned about was very interesting and the more I learned, the more it became clear to me that this is what I wanted to do.

Then one day, I watched a TED talk given by William McDonough on Cradle to Cradle design which blew me away. To be honest, I didn't think too much about it at first, I just thought it was a cool idea. It wasn't until I started thinking more about environmentalism that I realized how important the c2c philosophy was. Currently, I believe it is the best green philosophy due to it's focus on being good and not less bad.

Having decided to focus on c2c, I started to learn everything I could about it. I watched every video and read every article. Through my research I learned of a city called Venlo in the Netherlands and how this little town was trying to implement c2c. After some thought, I decided to take a leap and contact the people who were some of the key players in the movement there. And to my surprise, one of them actually responded and invited me to meet him in Venlo.

Naturally I was very excited about this invitation, but I thought to myself that it would be crazy if I actually went there even though I was in Germany at the time looking for a job. But after careful consideration, I concluded that I had to go because a life spent not chasing after your dream is not one worth living.

Overall, the trip was interesting but less than ideal. I was hoping that I could find a way to contribute to the movement, but the only advice that I received when I was there was to become an entrepreneur. Hearing that advice dampened my spirit because I am anything but a businessman - I'm not a person who cares much for money. And so, I left Venlo contemplating again what I should do with my life. The thought of not pursuing c2c looped in my mind over and over.

I spent countless hours trying to figure out how I could help and eventually came up with Cradle to Consumer. I have no idea where this project will take me, but I will continue to develop it as long as possible.

This project is a manifestation of my dream to save the world.

Two New Internships

Yesterday was the first day of my two new internships. My boss from the green consulting firm picked me up at 9:15am to go to the company for which we were going to do an assessment. The company makes compression hosiery which is something that people with bad circulation wear.

Their office was typical; they had some single office rooms and some cubicles. Everything was in the basement level so there weren't any windows which exacerbated their indoor air quality problem. In fact, there was a stench in the office that hit me immediately after walking in and I assume it came from their large stock of hosiery in the back room.

We started by asking them basic questions about their operations. Do they recycle? Do they buy green products? etc. The lady that was responsible for us kindly answered all the questions she could. After that, we went to every room to see what kind of electronics they were using and so forth.

When I was going through the office, I was thinking of all the green products that they could use; of course cradle to cradle was going through my mind. Generally speaking, they did not use any green products (the only exception was their mail packages which were USPS priority mail). Nevertheless, they seemed honest about everything and sincere in their interests of going green which added to the positive experience.

The assessment took about 2 ½ hours so I thought it was quite extensive. To be clear, we were focusing on the operations of the business and not on their product. Doing a life cycle assessment of their hosiery would require a separate organization and significant additional time.

After everything was complete, I left directly to go to the Responsible Purchasing Network.

My first day at RPN was quite slow; I met my co-workers and was assigned a desk. I did, however, learn about a current project they are working on which is actually very interesting. They are putting together a chart which explains how purchasing green products can be used to attain LEED credits. I will probably be finalizing this project.

One of RPN's main tasks is to compile purchasing guides for their members. They currently have around 15, all of them focusing on specific categories of products. They mentioned to me that their next one might be about green furniture so I hope I will be able to contribute to that.

Overall, my first day was good. I cannot wait to see how I develop myself in these two internships. I am hoping that what I am seeing now is the beginning of my career.