One of my first jobs as a corporate consultant was back in 1992. I worked as an assistant to one of my psychology professors who ran a successful organizational consulting firm. The client was the Environmental Protection Agency and our job was to provide a five-day seminar helping the scientists working at the EPA to better cope with stress and anxiety.
The reason we were hired was because the stress levels among scientists researching environmental damage was exceptionally high and causing a host of personal and interpersonal problems. In preparation for conducting the seminars, we interviewed senior management to get a clear understanding of the problems and struggles the EPA scientists were facing, and understand more fully the variables contributing to the high stress levels.
It quickly became clear that there was one single variable causing the extreme stress levels among the EPA scientists: their intimate and deep knowledge of the catastrophic state of environmental damage and the subsequent threats to our lives and particularly the lives of future generations. I remember how initially shocking and disturbing this was for me at the time. I remember also how this shock and dismay grew to serious alarm after I began working one-on-one with the scientists to learn more about their stresses and concerns.
Although they all had different areas of specialized knowledge and very different personalities and experiences, their points of view and especially their fears were almost identical. They all felt that we were fast approaching a point where the damage to our environment would become irreversible. Many felt that if the public fully understood the seriousness of the situation that there was a real risk of mass hysteria. They were afraid for all citizens of the world, and most strikingly, for their children and future generations.
Their message was chilling and advice simple. It’s almost too late. We all need to make changes now to repair and save our environment. Even small changes can make a big impact. Think about what changes you can make and start making them today.
That was almost twenty years ago…
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