To some extent I think this year has been a strange one, not quite as strange as 2020 but with the shadow of the pandemic still looming large it’s certainly not been normal! Right at the start of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and see whether we achieved what we set out to do, in addition to thinking about what we would like to achieve in the new year. We have a clean slate, to a certain extent, personally and professionally. For the fourth year running then I thought in this post that we could consider some new year’s resolutions for environmental practitioners. A list such as this will always be very specific to an individual, but it may give you some ideas for your own list.
1. Lead by example
It is important that we carry out actions within our home and work lives to be more sustainable. What that will be will vary between individuals. An environmental practitioner must show others what can be done and lead by example. If you do this then others are more likely to follow suit. There is nothing worse than telling people about good environmental practices and not following them yourself. Consider making changes to your own lifestyle that reduces impacts on the environment. Don’t just talk about a good game play one!
2. Read around the subject
I think with this one, it is important not just to keep our knowledge of what we do on a day to day basis but go beyond this. A certain amount of broader knowledge will help in many ways to make you a more rounded environmental practitioner and improve your ability to solve problems. It may also assist for other reasons such as complying with professional institutes requirements for CPD. Ideally pick a topic that you know very little about.
3. Be passionate about environmental management
I don’t want to ‘blow our own trumpet’ with this one but we are actually carrying out a job that is doing some good in society. I think it is important that we understand this and communicate it to others. I have found over the years that if a person is passionate and enthusiastic about the subject then this will rub off on others and they themselves will be more likely to implement sustainable solutions. Be passionate and others will follow suit and spread the word!
4. Consider your own long term career plan
I don’t think that it is a bad idea to sit down at the start of the year and look at where you want to be in the long term. If you have a certain position in mind or would like to work in a specific industry sector, now is the time to consider how you will achieve this. Plan out in the long term how you will achieve your goals. Consider actions like attending training courses, seminars and taking on extra duties at work to get where you want to be in the future.
5. Innovate don’t stagnate
Innovative solutions are going to be needed if we are ever going to solve the environmental problems that we face. Instead of going through the same tired old motions, consider a new and fresh way to deal with environmental challenges. Indeed, if you can do this it can lead to many personal and professional benefits. Take a risk and try something different!
I think that the list above might give you some ideas. The actions above are all quite general so you could consider making them more specific. Whatever you choose on your list it is important to keep the momentum going throughout the 2022. Keep checking back to your list and monitoring against it and making changes if you feel that they are needed. Allocate a small amount of time to this every so often to make sure that you are still on track.
Have a great, and green, 2022!
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.