Well that was some year! For one reason (here’s looking at you pandemic) and another I think most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, and look forward to a much better year in 2021 – it won’t take much! Anyway, this time of year is always a good time to contemplate what lies ahead and what we might like to achieve, both professionally and personally. For the third year running I thought we could look at some new year’s resolutions for environmental practitioners. A list such as these is always going to be very personal, but it might give you some idea on what your list might look like.
1. Change your own life and become more sustainable
I think we are a all guilty of ‘talking a good game’ and not actually doing much in our own lives to be more sustainable. What needs to be done will vary, but analyse your life and look at what you could do to improve your social and environmental impact. Life is busy, but I am sure we could all make some minor sustainability improvements. Changes could incorporate carrying out charitable work, travelling by a more sustainable mode of transport or purchasing goods that are more sustainable.
2. Level up on law
Providing your employer with competent advice on law is a very key duty of all environmental practitioners. Legal requirements are key to our job, and it is an area of weakness that I have detected on the courses that I run. There are many environmental laws out there and knowing about them is important when trying to manage environmental risk in the workplace. You should obviously be aware that the law sets a minimum standard and we often need to go beyond this standard of performance in some areas of business.
3. Don’t forget that CPD
One thing that attracted me to environmental management is that it is a constantly evolving subject. Things change and to be good at our job we must learn about the changes. It is important therefore that you improve your professional development and attend courses, workshops and complete less formal CPD by researching new topics on the internet. Knowledge is power, if you don’t know about a topic how can you enact positive change? Moving with the times is important!
4. Train, communicate and mentor others
If we ever want environmental management to move up the corporate agenda, then it is key that we pass on the message. This can be completed in many ways such as delivering training course or workshops at your workplace. Perhaps, if possible, it might be feasible for you to mentor a member of staff who has developed an interest in environmental issues or write an environmental newsletter or blog post. A lot of what we do should be about spreading the word new people rather than constantly preaching to the converted.
5. Tell your friends and family more about what you do
Similar to resolution 4, this one is about spreading the word outside of the usual people that we engage with when doing our job. In some ways we are preaching to the converted. Why not consider going outside the usual circle and inform others about the work you do and why it is important. It all about trying to get others interested as well, you never know you could inspire someone else to become interested in environmental management.
I developed this list as a general approach and some of you may be fairly happy with your progress towards a number of the resolutions already. In that vein as I stated at the start why not prepare your own list? It’s good to have a plan for the year of what we want to achieve, its common to complete this for a business, but not many people consider doing it for themselves.
Have a great, and green, 2021!
John Binns BSc (Hons), 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.