Someone once told
me that when circumstances are upsetting, the best way to assess
the situation is to ask yourself, Will this make a difference
to my life 10 years from now. If it does, then its probably
worth worrying about. If not, then forget about it.
The soundness of this strategy is probably why The Grandchildren
Test advocated by Cinergys CEO Jim Rogers resonates
so strongly. This test asks whether decades from now, when todays
children and grandchildren look back at what Cinergy did as a company
and the decisions it made, will they think the utility did the right
We want their answer to be yes, Rogers says. This
test connects us to future generations, who will face the outcome
of our choices and the actions we take today.
This notion that we are stewards of our childrens and grandchildrens
future is certainly one of the basic tenets of the sustainability
movement, and as such requires big-picture thinking and pragmatic
decisionstwo traits that have proven essential in order to
get anything accomplished in the long-term on the really critical
issues. Having never been a fan of the all or nothing
notion, give me small, measured steps of progress any day over the
one-in-a-million chance of winning big. Who among us wouldnt
rather face a challenging, yet achievable, task versus one that
would require a miracle to pull off? Admit it: havent you
ever added a task to your to-do list that youve
already completed simply because being able to check it off provides
a sense of satisfaction and the motivation to move on to one of
the next dozen items that needed attention? No one enjoys failure;
success is much more rewarding.
On the environmental agenda, you cant find a much bigger issue
than the one on global climate change. Though some still debate
whether the science is real, many more have accepted that its
there and are doing something about ita trend that hopefully
will make environmental problem-solving the number one growth industry
of the 21st century, said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew
Center for Global Climate Change, at this years EnvironDesign8
Today we have a choice: we can fall over ourselves seeking
short-term gains for our businesses and society, potentially at
great expense to our future, or we can think ahead and invest in
the strategies, processes and ideas that will help to insure that
our businesses and our life as we know it are still around for 10,
20 or 50 years down the line, she commented.
Cinergys Rogers agrees wholeheartedly, citing an urgent need
for a national conversation about environmental and energy issues.
Our country is unique in that weve never adopted a national
environmental policy or a national energy policy where the people
that create that policy look at the interplay between energy and
the environment . . . As a country we cant wait until the
next crisis to deal with these things; we need to deal with them
now so that we can have a sustainable future, Rogers says.
We need to lead on environmental issues, not follow.
Or, in the words of author Antoine de Saint Exupery, As for
the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.
As we have yet to develop a crystal ball thats 100 percent
accurate, my personal vote remains behind measured steps of improvement;
those I know will make a positive difference 10 years down the road.
The future is too important to risk on what ifs.
Ill take a sure thing every time.