Re-think: The Fourth R?

By Colleen Beaty|April 11, 2013

During this past month, I have introduced you to the Three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and discussed what they are and how they can be applied to your habitat and educational projects in order to help you further your company’s sustainability goals.

But wait – there’s more! Many sustainability experts now include a fourth R – Re-think. To re-think means to look at the existing system with the understanding that it likely has fundamental flaws, and that a truly sustainable system may require an entirely new approach.

I was very inspired by the 2012 TEDxDelft speech given by Boyan Slat this past October. His concept is a perfect example of the “Re-think” principle. He has completely re-conceptualized the removal of plastic debris in the oceans from an inefficient, unsustainable method that harms wildlife into an efficient, profitable, energetically self-sustaining system that does not harm sea life. If you have 11 minutes to spare, I highly recommend you watch the video of his presentation of his Marine Litter Extraction concept.

So how can we “re-think” habitat and education? Perhaps we can start by re-thinking what we believe habitat should look like. It can be more than, say, a majestic forest. Remember, a habitat must provide food, water, cover, and space – so even a small native garden can provide habitat for the right set of species.

Now let’s try re-imagining what a corporate campus looks like, in a way that seamlessly blends the company’s facilities with habitat. What would that look like?

And let’s not forget about employee and community engagement! How can it involve habitat in a meaningful way that benefits all parties? And what if the facility not only engaged its employees and the community, but they engaged the facility right back?

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