Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb: The Definitive Article
Penned by Tom
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your questions… and you did, they poured in – thank you! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to respond to some of these. The question that caught my attention this week was a simple but important one that lays the foundations for much of what we do:
How does BGT define the following three terms; sustainability, green, renewable energy? – David, a candidate
Although I am no philologist, definitions are important as they form the basis of communication. If people define the categories differently, then they might also misunderstand the issues at hand. Yet at the same time arguments about the meaning of this, or the definition of that, often constrain the debate – reducing people to petty squabbling rather than constructive progress. I’ll try to ‘walk the line’ and be somewhat definitive!
I want to start with the definition of Green. Given our company’s name, it would seem as good a place as any. We deliberated hard as to whether we should include green within our title, yet the name Bright Green Talent stood proud from our choices. It describes what we do clearly and succinctly. But what does ‘green’ mean to us? Green encapsulates the environmental movement and, although it may be a somewhat tired term, people understand the link. It’s loose, but it has been adopted by politicians (the green party), organisations (ourselves) and society-driven movements (Greenpeace). To us, it’s a useful catchall for the movement that aims to improve the environmental conditions of our planet.
Sustainability (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability) is a more complicated and widely debated term. Again, I don’t want to get lost in a debate, but instead to lay out our (perhaps simplistic) understanding: To us, it implies a ‘manageable’ future. It invokes the maintenance of a system. In relation to the environment, this means ensuring that human impact on the planet ensures that our actions do not deplete resources or harm natural cycles. For example, a sustainable business would be one that leaves its environment no worse off than if it didn’t exist – preferably one that, if we could measure the complete impact, brings benefit. If our society is not sustainable, then logic would follow that we are moving, whether slowly or quickly, towards its destruction. As such, sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have, but a must-have. How we ensure sustainability – through forward-planning or through more drastic methods – will inevitably evolve as we progress.
Finally, we understand Renewable Energy as energy that comes from natural and quickly replenishing sources. This would include wind, solar, geo-thermal, wave, tidal and hyrdo power… but not oil, gas, coal etc, which although renewable over millions of years, are being used many multiples of times more quickly than they can replenish.
Next week I’ll pull my head from the dictionary and onto the streets for some more practical advice to your questions.
1 the male of various animals, esp. a turkey or domestic cat.
2 ( Tom) informal short for Uncle Tom .
ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting an ordinary man, surviving in tomfool, tomboy, and the phrase Tom, Dick, and Harry): abbreviation of the given name Thomas. Sense 1 dates from the mid 18th cent.