I went to a business conference this past week at one of the local military bases to hear more about the future trends in Military construction opportunities. Everyone in my industry knows that military construction spending is at an all time high, and just about everyone is trying to figure out how to get a piece of the action.
I showed up early and shook some hands, exchanged some business cards, and eventually took my seat at a table close to the front of the banquet hall. They had a Military General that would be delivering the keynote speech that morning, and I was excited to hear his perspective on energy use and our government’s role in decreasing dependence on foreign oil. OK so I know I’m a geek about this stuff, but as a former Boulder resident, public transportation, bicycles, and ‘green’ initiatives are important to me. I’m the only guy at my office that tries to ride my bike to work and takes the trolley around town to meetings. It’s just how I roll (pun intended).
Major General Anthony Jackson went on to give a speech that was beyond compelling. He talked about the wars our country is fighting around the world, the blood that has been shed, and the direct and indirect links to natural resource control. While we are combating terrorism, we are also working to preserve our appetite and hunger for oil and the countries that control those resources. I was struck that this was not a ‘PR’ pitch. Rather this was a high level General that worked in the pentagon talking about the closed-door discussions on military strategy.
Without getting too political, General Jackson went on to inspire people that we can all do things to make a difference in our dependence on foreign resources. He bought a hybrid car, put solar panels on his house and telecommutes when he can. He is not looking to save money, but rather to decrease his personal footprint. He may never see the payback on his investment, but he knows that if everyone made a few changes, we can stop some of the unnecessary global conflict.
Jackson got a standing ovation at the end of his speech. People were buzzing with excitement.
I left the meeting and walked past a parking lot of SUV’s on the way to my own car to drive back to the office. I wondered how many of the people in that room would be trading their SUV’s for electric or hybrid vehicles over the next year because of the General’s speech. Unfortunately, I may be a cynic, but I think changing behavior is a lot more difficult than inspiring people with a 45 minute keynote speech. Behavioral change takes work.
It’s not unlike sitting through a feel-good sermon on a Sunday morning to get you ready for the week. The “hoo-rah, I’m gonna be a good person this week” inspiration melts down when your boss makes you mad on a Monday morning.
The problem I believe is not the desire to be a good Christian; it is the lack of commitment to the lifestyle. It starts with the little things like volunteering your time, and continues to things like being disciplined about where you feed your mind and what you are saying about others. Does your world focus around you? How do we expect to love the world around us when we don’t step outside our comfort zone and consciously decide to change and move our focus externally? While 80% of American’s claim to be Christians, we live in country full of divorce, gossip, greed and selfishness. It’s like we are a bunch of SUV driving business people giving a standing ovation at a speech about environmentalism.
What makes you different?
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”