The festive season has now come to an end and naturally thought comes to the year ahead and what we want to achieve. Yes, you’ve guessed it; it’s time for some new year’s resolutions! In this post I have developed a few ideas as to what environmental practitioners could consider achieving over the next twelve months. You might have a few of your own, so feel free to add to the list.
1. Out of That Comfort Zone!
Why not consider learning or undertaking a task that you find scary? What this is will vary for individuals, but it could include undertaking a task at work that you have previously avoided as it makes you nervous. This might include public speaking, such as delivering a training course or briefing to staff, or perhaps putting yourself forward to do some sustainability auditing which you have previously avoided. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to progress and increase confidence.
2. Knowledge is Power
Take a look at your current qualifications is there any way that these can be improved? You might consider increasing your general knowledge on environmental management by taking a course. This could be a general environmental management course that gives you a solid foundation in environmental management such as the NEBOSH Environment Certificate or IEMA Foundation Certificate or a more advanced qualification such as the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management or IEMA Certificate in Environmental Management. If you are happy with your general qualifications why not study for something different such as a more specialist course? This could be a course for auditing, carbon foot printing, BREAAM etc.
3. Level up your Professional Qualifications
Why don’t you consider increasing your level of professional qualifications? For example, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) offer a membership scheme for environmental practitioners. There are various grades of entry from Student to Fellow. If you are not a member why don’t you join? If you are currently a member why not make it a new year’s resolution to do what is needed to make it to the next level. Not only is it worth it for the recognition, but building your competency to reach the required standard of membership will also help you become a more knowledgeable and rounded environmental professional.
4. Spread the Word
I thought about calling this resolution ‘knowledge is power’ as it applies just as much to this one. The more people now about environmental issues then the higher the likelihood is that something will be done about them. Think about how you could communicate the message to others. This might include a mix of formal ways such as toolbox talks, noticeboards, blog posts or presentations or it could include more informal ways such as when you are chatting with a colleague over a coffee.
5. Lead by Example
If you want people to change then you must change yourself! Too many times during my career so far, I have seen colleagues talk about environmental issues but do not put what they preach in to practice. Consider your current lifestyle and look at sustainable ways to change it. For example, could you walk or cycle to work sometimes instead of taking the car? Could you cut down on food and plastic waste or buy more sustainable products? If you don’t do these things, then you are giving a reason for others to criticise you. Don’t just talk a good game – play one as well!
Setting some goals for the year and ensuring that you stick to them is an important thing to do. Now we have looked at a few strategic examples why not develop an action plan to make them more specific to you. Check your plan every so often to ensure that you are on track to meet them. Good luck and I hope that you all have an amazing 2020!
John Binns BSc (Hons), MSc, MSc, MIEMA
With over 19 years’ experience working in environment management, John Binns BSc (Hons) MSc MIEMA is an experienced environmental tutor and consultant with knowledge of health and safety management.