YKK Stories

Fundamental Behavior 3 – Protect the Environment

July 9, 2021
Author: YKK
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“Protect the Environment” is much like another Fundamental Behavior, “Do the right thing, always.”  They can go hand in hand, and it is everyone’s responsibility.  Ten years ago, when I joined the Environmental Compliance Committee, there seemed to be this notion that it was the responsibility of the Environmental Engineer at that plant to handle all environmental issues. But as we audited and talked and corrected findings, it became obvious that it was going to take more than one person at each plant to correct these findings. It was going to require MANY people doing the right thing instead of one, and we are better because of it.

One of my favorite environmental slogans is, “Imagine if trees gave off Wi-Fi signals; we would be planting so many trees that we’d probably save the planet, too.  Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.“  Everyone has their own motivation for why they do things, but getting everyone motivated to do the right thing in concert requires believing in what you are doing and why you are doing it, and getting a little “nudge” now and then.  No brutal dictator has ever stayed in power for very long; he is usually replaced by someone leading the “resistance” who has won the hearts and minds of the people.  Once people believe in you and your goals, they will follow.

So, what is our goal?  To borrow from another profession, “Do no harm.”  We cannot simply fix everything wrong with the environment by snapping our fingers and saying “Done.”  It is going to take long, hard work and many people working together to turn things around.  However, I think we should change that to “Do no MORE harm.”  That means:  do not dump something that can be recycled in the future, do not use something that will kill fish in the future, do not let something go into the air outside that will make it harder to breathe in the future.

We have heard about all the bad things associated with COVID, but one of the good things is that the earth has started to heal itself in places.  It is possible to heal this place we call home, but we must start trying harder today.  Do something today and start to believe. Take 30 seconds and send me an email about what you did this week to do no more harm and start to believe.

Brian Tielking
Wet Process Superintendent