Greatest Hits 11 – Guess I’m just feeling Philosophical: Lessons from Biology Class

Inspiration for this week’s philosophical meanderings comes from way back, high school biology class. I think I was a junior, and this thought has stayed with me since then. And no, surprisingly, it’s not related to the formaldehyde the frogs were dunked in….

It was a basic concept regarding the three basic choices life has when faced with an obstacle to continuing.

Change our environment.

Change ourselves.

We can die.

It’s surprising how many ways you can adapt that concept in how we live our lives. It can be as simple as being too cold in a room—turn up the heat (change the environment), put on a sweater (change ourselves) or suffer (i.e., do nothing or “die”.) It can be as motivating as dealing with a horrible job/relationship—change the environment by trying to change the other people or even getting out of the job/relations completely, or try to change your attitude or approach to the situation so it doesn’t impact you as much, or suffer through it.

At work, it’s often comes into play with the regulations I’m dealing with. (Fortunately it isn’t a factor in terms of my actual employment—I love Metropolitan and the people I work with. Rather, my stress comes from the outside forces putting barriers on our business growth.)

All of us have a choice when faced with regulations and business barriers. First we try to change the regulatory environment first—we write comments, we go to our politicians, we go to the media, we go to organizations and associations. We try to make the environment for our business better.

If we fail at that, we adapt, right? We change ourselves as needed. Sometimes it is simply a matter of adding more paperwork to our lives—we don’t actually have to change our production or business, just document it differently—and sometimes that means actually changing something we do. In the wood industry, that might be changing glues because of the EPA, or dropping a species because of Lacey. It might be changing sources of supply because of a dumping order.

What I refuse to do is simply give up and die.

Elizabeth Baldwin is Environmental Compliance Officer for Metropolitan Hardwood Floors. In her 25 plus year career in the wood industry has visited over 70 countries and hundreds of facilities of all sizes and types. She describes herself as a “jack of all wood trades.” Familiar with jungles of all sorts–having camped out along the Amazon and walked the halls of Congress–she blogs for the NWFA on both environmental and regulatory issues for educational and informational purposes only. Her blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with CARB, TSCA, the U.S. Lacey Act or any other law, regulation, or compliance requirement/claim should consult with the regulatory agency directly and/or a qualified legal professional.

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