As a boy, I used to enjoy summer trips to our family farms. Travelling down dusty prairie roads, face pressed against the car window, I always hoped to catch sight of a badger emerging from one of the many dens littering the ditches.
When we arrived at the farm, I would excitedly get out and inspect the bug screen anchored to the front grill of the car. It would be plastered with a variety of insects that had been unfortunate to fly into our travels. As much as this scene saddened me, it also became my research centre, a place where I became familiar with the enormous numbers of insects that I shared the environment with.
Another special time was waiting for the robins to arrive in the spring. Near the end of a long, dark prairie winter, the first robins were harbingers that life would soon be renewing itself.
Today, when I drive down those same gravel roads, the ditches are now barren. The prairie dog colonies, long the natural food source of badgers, are all long since gone. And with them, the badgers. My vehicle, and the countless others that I pass, no longer have bug screens on them. Why? Because there are no longer enough insects left to warrant their use. My annual wait for the robins has changed from the exhilaration of watching them arrive in droves to a strained and desperate attempt to see any nesting couples.
It is clear to me now that in a very real and personal way, that the world that I knew is disappearing. Fewer mammals, fewer insects, fewer birds. The situation has moved me to the point where inactivity is no longer an option for me. So, as part of my attempts to walk the Earth in a better way, I am committing myself to operating my business with the smallest ecological footprint possible.
As a business, reducing inefficiencies, improving sustainability and playing for the long game, are all concepts that you understand and endeavour to achieve. We just have to take what we know and strive for in our workplaces and apply it to the natural world. Our children, and the children of other species, are counting on it.