Choice Words for a Green Audience

Gobbledygook!

There. I said it.

This may seem like an odd choice for the first word of my first ever blog post, but I chose it for two reasons. First, it’s a fun little term with all kinds of extra syllables stapled to it and it surprised me to find that it cleared spell check. But more importantly, the word starts us out on a theme that I intend to weave into my blog posts written in conjunction with the Sustainability Learning Centre.

According to its very own Wikipedia page, the term ‘gobbledygook’ was coined by a Mr. Maury Maverick, in reference to the “convoluted language of bureaucrats”.  Currently, the realm of green business is littered with gobbledygook.

Try not to step in it.

True to its source, many bureaucrats seem to have gobbledygook coursing through their veins. We have multiple layers of government who wow us with vague plans plotted along inexplicably long timelines and heads of business who peddle greenwashing as if it were the latest product to emerge from the P&G laboratories.

That’s not to say that all “bureaucrats” are inherently rotten, but I’ve seen my share of speakers and CSR reports that celebrate the wonderful goals their organizations have achieved, but in the end offer little substance. After the euphoric feel-good phase has worn off (‘green haze’?) we’re often left with government programs that have no real teeth and corporate case studies that leave no way for individuals to actually implement the best-practices in their day-to-day lives, either at home or in the office.

I’m reminded of a presentation by Coca-Cola that I attended about all the wonderful things they have done to green their product. “Great!” I thought to myself as we were herded to the reception area. “Too bad I sold my global beverage business last week. Otherwise that information would have been useful!”

So let’s cut the gobbledygook. As you will see on the Sustainability Learning Centre website, one of the prevailing beliefs of the organization is the potential to unlock a wealth of knowledge and untapped capacity for innovation through stakeholder engagement. This idea of stripping away the gobbledygook to get at the practical concepts and methods to improve stakeholder engagement will be a central theme to my blog posts. Naturally, I will occasionally stray in my subject matter, but who can blame me? Some environmental issues are too juicy to pass up. (I see you, Stephen Harper…)

I also welcome your feedback as well as your supporting or dissenting ideas. Generally speaking, I’m more interested in spreading the truth and finding the best solution than I am in always being right.

That said, constructive criticism is always best, since as a first-time environmental blogger, I’m still pretty green.
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About Daniel Caunter

Who is Daniel Caunter? Daniel is a series of contrasts – Environmentalist MBA, anglo Montrealer, landlocked surfer, serious about fun, and creatively practical. He has lofty ideals, but is focused on finding veritable solutions that will work in reality. He is a work in progress, building a career in environmental business with a focus on stakeholder engagement, project management and corporate communications. Daniel can be reached via Twitter (@danielcaunter), or by commenting here on this site. If you’d like a real-time update on this work in progress, he may even be persuaded to come out for a pint or a cuppa. (Please note: the views expressed in Daniel’s posts are his personally - though sometimes satirical - and are not necessarily those of his employer or other affiliations...so don’t be silly.)
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One Response to Choice Words for a Green Audience

  1. Kathry Cooper says:

    This is a great post Daniel! I am currently reading “The Great Work: Our Way into the Future” by Thomas Berry. He talks about how we live in a moment in time where future generations demand more from us. I quote: ” For the success or failure of any historical age is the extent to which those living at that time have fulfilled the special role that history has imposed on them.” He says we are the privledged who have been given the intellectual vision, the spiritual insight and the physical resource to make the transition “from the period where humans were a disruptive force on the planet to the period where humans become present to the planet in a manner that is mutually enhancing”. We all know it is hard. It is a big ship to turn around. But when my 13 year old whines that things are “too hard” I remind him of the courage of the many people on the path behind us. If we, at this moment in time, are involved in sustainability or CSR and we know in our heart of hearts that we are only scratching the surface – well – it’s no more than “Gobbledygook!”.

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