I had signed up to be a rally marshall - volunteering to heard the cats of the passionate protesters, to make sure we stayed on course and in our legal route. It was a conflicting experience. On one hand, I feel that politicians and companies are not listening to the people and only have money in mind, and that we need to do something drastic and visible to show our power. On the other hand, it felt somewhat barbaric to shout into the open air while charging down the main streets of D.C. I think it was the overly rational part of my brain telling me that there has got to be a more efficient and orderly way to do this, to get our point across.
Later, while talking to other volunteers and friends I had made over the three days, I found that my plan to go into corporate sustainability was almost too taboo to mention. I was framed as wanting to join the enemy while really my intentions are quite different. I believe that companies will have to be the leaders in moving toward sustainability - and that it is much more efficient to effect the change directly as a CSO (corporate sustainability officer) than to organize people to march through the streets to hopefully get to the politicians to hope that they'll eventually pass a bill that will put some limits on corporations and will potentially be monitored and enforced. There are just too many links in that chain for me. And while I morally agree with almost everything to be said by my radical environmental activist friends (that there should be stricter regulations, we need to get the money out of politics, we need stricter enforcement, etc.) I don't realistically see it happening. I think our best shot is to bring "the enemy" over to our side with fiscally sustainable solutions and an emphasis on longterm investment.
The rally fired me up, but not as much as the Sustainable Brands Conference I attended in the beginning of June. I believe in the power of the people, but (unfortunately) not as much as the current power of those corporations. This is one of the reasons why I am now dedicated to helping non-profits as well as companies and social enterprises with their social media needs (both environmentally related and otherwise).