I’ve long supported an inclusive and incremental approach to environmental change, which I would summarize this way: Applaud positive steps made by individuals and businesses, while being wary of greenwash and false advertising. Look to like-minded people for support and ideas, but make the effort to seek, evaluate, and support progress made by people and companies you otherwise suspect. Imagine a world that is clean, safe, and sustainable, but accept that it will take decades to undo the destruction that the industrial revolution began three centuries ago. Be willing to look beyond stereotypes, seek common ground, and praise small steps. Don’t expect perfection, but strive for improvement. Relinquish the temptation to cast ourselves as heroes and everyone else as villains or sloths. Keep hoping.
This philosophy comes into sharp focus when one contemplates a recent E Magazine article which summarized environmental progress being made by the poster child of corporate evil, the food chain McDonalds.
Wait! Keep reading! The corporate fast-food giant has initiatives on energy, packaging, waste reduction, recycling, and more. You can investigate more here.
And get this: last year McDonald’s partnered with well-known genuine environmental groups to identify “Planet Champions” within the corporation’s worldwide reach. “The selection committee voted for projects and included representatives from McDonald’s as well as Business for Social Responsibility, Ceres, Conservation International, and World Wildlife Fund.” The highlighted parties did things in their local region like improving waste management, calculating ways to reduce carbon use, building the first LEED gold building in the country, and more.
As I wrote in The Green Foodprint, “There is hope for our food system. Determined groups and individuals have stopped some of industry’s worst tactics and even turned some businesses around. It’s not good to have a giant against you, but if you can get the giant on your side, you’re in luck.”