The challenges of trying to act sustainably in a culture that doesn’t value sustainability never end

May 31, 2024 by Joshua
in Leadership, Stories

I’ve written about how the construction my building is doing means no roof access for likely over six months:

I’ve been trying to find other rooftops I can use so I don’t have to carry the equipment so far, risking bumps or drops. I can’t leave the panels unwatched to go to the bathroom or work elsewhere when it gets hot.

So far I’ve asked the following, politely, offering to share favorable publicity.

  • The restaurant across the street, which even has a garden on its roof
  • A restaurant down the block that has a hydroponic setup on its roof
  • A restaurant down a different block
  • A retail store next to that restaurant
  • A neighbor in a townhouse across the street

They’ve all been nice, but citing landlords, liability, old roofs, and so on, none has allowed me to use their roofs. They have no obligation to, so I don’t begrudge them. On the contrary, I appreciate their hearing me out and considering doing a neighborly thing, but it’s tough to fight culture and American culture nearly only values sustainability in word, not deed.

Besides contacting all of them, I asked politely

  • My coop board
  • The building management
  • The building superintendent
  • One of my building staff asked the superintendent of a couple buildings on my block he knows
  • and spoke with the Department of Buildings

I’ll keep trying, though there aren’t many places that get good sunlight and aren’t tall buildings I’d have to climb too many flights. In the meantime, here I am in the park with the panels and battery charging my laptop. Someone caught me reading the book Turning Pages of podcast guest and former CEO of MacMillan publishing, John Sargent. I recommend the book.

In case you couldn’t see the title, here’s another shot:

I like the park, but it’s going to get hot soon.

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