Nebraska Recycling Council

Letting Go

Intellectually, we know that all things change, yet we often hold tight to what we are familiar with. The fact is, we can’t hold on to our youth, our health, our life, or even our loved ones forever. We are only the masters of our actions.

The denial of this basic truth often leads to anxiety, fear, and confusion in our minds. Even when the status quo is harmful to us individually or collectively, we hold on, because change is hard. I’ll wager that we have all gone kicking and screaming to avoid change, and later sheepishly admit that it wasn’t so bad as expected.

That’s why I would like to call out the actions – the leadership, collective efforts, and perseverance that it took to bring about the cardboard ban in Lincoln. Beginning April 1st, one short month from now, all businesses and residents need to keep corrugated cardboard out of their trash.

Yes, the ban will create some difficulties, but that’s mostly because it’s a change from the old way of doing things, not because it’s so much harder to do. The cardboard ban is a small step that will have a positive impact on our capital city, and potentially leverage more systemic changes in the future.

One of my heroes is a brilliant scientist, teacher and author by the name of Donella Meadows. From her web site: “Dr. Donella H. Meadows, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment and a MacArthur Fellow, was one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the twentieth century. After receiving a Ph.D in biophysics from Harvard, she joined a team at MIT applying the relatively new tools of system dynamics to global problems.”

Here is a powerful piece she wrote about how people can work with systems once they let go of their illusion of control. It’s a real treat.

– Julie

Sign up for our E-newsletter