In answer to the first two questions, many say they are not environmentalists because they do not do enough for the environment. Interestingly, until about two years ago, many students who said they were “not environmentalists” said so because they viewed environmentalists as “radical tree-huggers” (their words) who are very different from them. It is wonderful that the perspectives of some business students are shifting. Many students now see that sustainable business practices produce economic, social, and environmental benefits in the short term and long term. As part of our discussion, I explain that I label myself as an “environmentalist in process.” I know that I do more than some people to promote sustainability, but I do a lot less than I could. Nevertheless, each month and year, I have been changing my perspectives and practices to reduce my footprint on the Earth.
On that first day of class, some people change their responses by the end of the discussion saying, “I am comfortable calling myself an “environmentalist in process because …” (fill in the blank.) Others change their responses during the course of our semester. It is delightful to see that they change the way they view their role in the pursuit of sustainability. Their essays in our class document what they are doing as individuals, within their families, and within student organizations to live in more sustainable ways.
In the photo, I am at Cueva Roja, Chiapas, Mexico on a farm that is part of the Maya Vinic Coffee Cooperative. See my blog about Higher Grounds Coffee. Chris Treter, co-founder of Higher Grounds, began his business as a result of his relationship with the wonderful people of Maya Vinic.!
Copyright© 2011 by Paulette L. Stenzel for text and photo.
Paulette L. Stenzel
I am Professor Emeritus of International Business Law and Sustainability at Michigan State University (MSU). I am also a mom, learner, writer, violinist, environmentalist -in -process, traveler, and avid reader. I continue to teach part time at MSU and coordinate the Broad College Ethical Leadership program Additionally, I advise Spartan Global Development Fund - a student-driven microfinance organization.