This is part of a series of stories by ILG editor, Jim Poyser, who was trained in August to deliver the Climate Reality Leadership slideshow, connecting extreme weather to climate change.
I knew this first adventure in power point wasn’t likely going to be an actual presentation of the climate reality slideshow. I was meeting the sustainability club at a large, well-known corporation and it was a lunchtime visit, not nearly enough time to display the slideshow.
I thought I might perhaps focus on one section, the one about Indiana’s greenhouse gas emissions, and get some feedback from the assembled.
Still, I felt it worth the five-mile bike ride downtown, despite the low tire pressure that made me feel I was riding uphill the whole way.
The first indication I might be in for a problem was when the person who’d invited me met me at the front desk and informed me there was another speaker — one whom would present before me.
“Oh, um, okay. How long does he speak?”
“Thirty minutes or so,” she said.
“Then you’ll speak for, oh, twenty minutes maybe.”
Twenty minutes? I quickly began to recalculate what I could pull off in twenty minutes, and it didn’t seem my slideshow had a chance.
The second indication I was in trouble was when I entered the conference room where the meeting was to be held. I was offered water. Having biked for a half an hour, I was thirsty, and having been in similar situations before, I was obliged to ask for a glass of water – “No water bottle,” I stated.
My host went away to find my water but came back empty-handed. Apparently, the cupboard was empty of cups. So she sent another member of the sustainability club to find me water.
Eventually, that person returned with a Styrofoam cup, a small, six ounce-sized one, in fact. The cup was a formidable little beast with the staying power of over a million years.
She apologized, clearly understanding the tragic irony: the sustainability club unable to come up with anything but a Styrofoam cup for their “green” guest.
I would have preferred she bring me water cupped in her bacteria-filled hands.
The first speaker started his presentation, one that contained concepts and words I’d never encountered before, including chemical names comprised of seven or more syllables. So I had time during this indecipherable presentation to take an accounting of the setting. There were a total of six people in the room. A seventh arrived halfway through.
That’s at total of seven people, two of whom were presenters.
There was a conference call, but it was impossible to know how many people were listening in as not one of them ever said a word. When I began to talk, however, at least two people hung up when I mentioned Republican’s lack of belief in science.
When I finished nattering on, one of the club members spoke and had a lot of positive things to say about his corporation’s reduction of energy usage and waste. I was greatly encouraged to hear there was such an internal effort on reducing waste and carbon footprint.
He finished his brief description with a depressing tale, however. They had tried to institute a conscious waste policy in their cafeteria, and it had failed. It had failed because people didn’t pay attention to the signs that explained what went where, and so folks would “contaminate” the recycling with organic waste and, presumably, vice versa.
I’ve begun to think of this as the “can’t be bothered” phenomenon, peculiar to Americans. Can’t be bothered to dispose of waste in a mindful manner. Can’t be bothered to turn off the car while sitting for minutes at a time. Can’t be bothered to reduce carbon footprint, even though it often saves money and makes one healthier.
On the ride back to work, I stopped by the Harrison Center, to scope the site of my next, and really, the first for-real slideshow event, at FoodCon III. I checked out the venue, made some decisions, and am now looking forward to my presentation on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Please, if I look thirsty and you can’t find a glass, bring me a drink cupped in your bacteria-filled hands.