Leadership Blog

Put More Into the World than You Take Out

Posted on October 31, 2014 | in Sustainability | by

“Put More Into the World than You Take Out” is a message that can stick with your children and grandchildren on America Recycles Day, this November 15. Over the years, my wife, Nancy, and I repeated this message through words and actions to our children that dovetails nicely into the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” theme.

Reflecting further back, my parents were raised in the Great Depression. My mother’s family lost their farm and possessions during the dust bowl. My father’s parents lived day-to-day feeding eleven children in a humble farm setting. They lived the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” lifestyle out of necessity, and hence, it was a way of life as well as an expectation that was firmly communicated.

Then, as the economic growth engines in America kicked in, my family benefited from the technologies and economics that improved the quality of life.  And yet, the tradeoffs took more out of the world than was realized. Now society is arguably playing catch-up to find better practices and find new technologies to deal with the “Third Wave”. So, here we are, knowing all is not hopeless, but knowing our critical situation is one where we all must collaborate and cooperate to have a sustainable society and planet.

To have a little fun this past week, I asked my siblings and children to recall some of the recycling practices we learned from earlier days on the farm, some examples listed here:
• Sleeping pillows were made from cloth flour bags and chicken or duck feathers.
• Cloth diapers, rather than disposable, were used for infants.
• With almost 50 cousins, we always recycled and patched clothes as the kids grew up.
• Worn clothes and rags were transformed into rag rugs.
• Washable handkerchiefs were used instead of tissues! (my sister’s favorite “yuk” item now)
• Rainwater was collected in barrels and recycled.
• Everything possible was composted, from apple cores to egg shells.

To include you in the fun, please email me some of the more memorable recycling practices from your upbringing at kb.frontlinefocus@gmail.com, which I will summarize here next week. …and thanks for your input!

One individual or company cannot save the world, but as we proliferate the message and actions to “Put More Into the World than You Take Out,” the environmental sustainability of our planet improves.

“America Recycles Day” is November 15, so you have time to tune recycling practices to make a difference. …Only then, can we Pass It On!

Quote from Ecologist and Scientist Adolph Murie: “Let us be guardians rather than gardeners.”

To learn more about “America Recycles Day,” click here: http://americarecyclesday.org
…and I encourage you to then pledge to recycle more by clicking the link on the left side.



One Response to “Put More Into the World than You Take Out”

  1. YUE ZHAO says:

    I really love this article! It reminds me of my childhood. I am raised in Jiang Yan, Jiang Su Province, China. I spent few years living with my maternal grandparents when i was in kindergarten as my parents were very busy on business. I can still remember every morning my grandma put the same piece of cleaned cotton-made cloth in my pocket and pass me a stainless cup which was filled with warm soy milk. On the way going to school, i always drank up the milk, then using the cloth to clean my mouth. And i would use the cup to refill hot water when i got school! All the sweet memories are still wandering in my mind and i am sure there will be there among my whole life! For me, “GREEN” doesn’t only mean environmental friendly, but also means LOVE!

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