Those paying any attention know that the modern green movement is not one thing, or even one movement. It means reuse, it means recycling. It once meant, for instance, cleaning up litter. Then it meant not generating it all. Now, it means turning waste into valuable raw materials. In fact, it demonstrates, in that essence, its own core principle—transformation, unending and ceaselessly revitalizing.
Schools are becoming involved too, like the six school districts in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas that have joined forces to explore a host of concerns, from the materials they cook and serve with, to the food on their menus, through to the compost they generate as a result. And in doing so, they have an amazing opportunity to illustrate the message of transformation that is now woven into the DNA of our society, replicated in the smallest element and visible everywhere.
The lesson may be taught in either direction, beginning with any point on the cycle. Begin, for instance, with composting. Set aside the mechanics for the moment, and the broader text all but leaps out: Life is change over time, from energy to matter and back again. We consume what we need. The remainder is not truly waste; the larger elements are used again, shredded and rebuilt. The smaller pieces are broken down, to fuel the growth of what we need next. That cycle isn’t something we have to work to achieve; it is absolute. Nature will consume and transform everything. We can become agents of change, harnessing that power and its miraculous efficiency, or we can fight an inevitably losing battle for the status quo. The wrong side of history? Try the wrong side of thermodynamics.
But if you are unconvinced, choose another point on the circle. Start with the assembly line economy of the twentieth century, in which a person might spend decades in the same slot tightening the same bolt or balancing the same books. It wasn’t sustainable in any sense of the word: as a worldview, it could not be sustained, and it failed to recognize that transformations never stop at one. The idea that student becomes employee and never changes again is absurd. It’s astounding the idea lasted as long as it did.
Move along the circle to the economy of 2015. Do you know anyone that is just one thing? We are all students, thrust by information technology and an endless flow of data into a classroom that walks with us, even as we are all producers, with a thousand means at our fingertips for producing content, distributing ideas, and even manufacturing the realizations of our own grand designs at home.
Paper Water Bottle® is both the product and the herald of this new age. Transformation, from seed to plant, from fiber to container, from product to fertilizer, is not just a set of physical properties of which we are taking advantage. Instead, the process is a model for all we might accomplish, not just as a company embracing renewable materials and sustainable products. It is a paradigm for the ways in which we as individuals and organizations can become agents of change, those who welcome and foster renewal and growth.