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green@work : Magazine : Between Blue & Yellow : May/June 2002

 

Between Blue and Yellow
A Never-ending Journey

by Katie Sosnowchik

Our entrée into the sustainable development field occurred, like many other businesses, as an awakening of sorts; a gradual realization of the enormous breadth and depth that these ideals and their consequences truly mean for the world. We didn’t sit up one day and say, “This is it!” Rather, we metamorphosed into environmental advocacy as a result of the visionaries whom we talked to, listened to, learned from and, above all, were inspired by—the people who were responsible for stirring our spirit, a notion our senior columnist Carl Frankel explores in his column entitled “Beneath the Surface.”

Much of our initial interest in sustainability was the result of our investigations into the greening of the built environment through the work of a sister publication, IS magazine. This 12-year-old trade publication for architects and designers was the first, and remains the only, magazine in that field that has taken on the mantle of green design and building champion. It was through this magazine that we were introduced to our first inklings of what sustainability really meant. It was through people like Bill McDonough, Michael Braungart, Bill Browning, Paul Hawken, Ken Rhyne, Sandy Mendler, Hunter Lovins and Sim Van der Ryn that we were encouraged to transform our own organization and its mission in the field of publishing. From there, as well as during the beginning years of producing the EnvironDesign® conference, that our exposure to the treatises of people like Janine Benyus, Anita Roddick, Daniel Quinn, William Ford and John Elkington reinforced these initial convictions. Finally, it was the tireless work of everyday pioneers (happily too numerous to name here) and their ability to overcome the more mundane obstacles and challenges on the frontlines of environmental stewardship that cemented our belief in the concept of “doing well by doing good.”

In the end, what we have learned most from the pioneers we have encountered is that this journey is never-ending. There are always new paths to explore, new ways of thinking to study, new practices and processes to examine. Our “education” thus far has been diverse and rewarding. But we acknowledge that it is not finished. “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself,” said author Lloyd Alexander. “If we ever sit back and say, ‘We’ve arrived,’ then I think we will have failed,” said Mac Bridger, CEO of C & A Floorcoverings, during the interview for this issue’s cover story. Both are right.


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