Surviving Successfully When Talking Trash

Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

In crafting Trash Talk each month, it’s with the input of successful editing that I don’t come across more preachy or stuck on a soapbox; that “expert” you avoid at a party.

Recently, however, I’ve been pleased with the openness of our country’s public discourse. Right or wrong, red or blue, left or right, seeing Americans exercise their first-ammendment rights is inspiring. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

So how do we speak out about things that matter to us while maintaining civility and decorum? For answers, I reflect on my own lessons learned and advice gleaned from the positive leadership here in Tulsa working towards creating positive public conversations. Here are those musings:

Seek to Understand Before Seeking to be Understood:
This I credit to my mama. Can you feel the eye rolls she endured over the years as she peppered me with this wisdom? Thankfully, it generally sunk in because when I better understand where someone is coming from, it’s easier to find our common ground.

Know When to Say Yes and How to Say No
From a working lunch hosted by Tulsa’s Association for Women in Communications, Leadership Tulsa’s Wendy Thomas provided a roadmap for how to do this. You can watch her presentation in full on YouTube.

In summary, learning to recognize my own interests, goals and ideas as well as the time I really have to invest helps me spend my energy wisely, so that I accomplish my short-term goals and long-term lifestyle plan.

Just Ask
Sustainable Tulsa’s Corey Williams gave a presentation recently regarding Scor3Card, which provides a business or company the tools to track and improve their triple bottom line of people, profit and planet.

In her presentation, Williams said the best success stories come when people, “Just ask. So many times, I find that a business’ gatekeepers have had similar ideas as what we are offering. It’s just that no one has asked about it before,” says Williams. “So, before dismissing an idea as too unattainable, ask someone. Have that conversation.”

Allow for Human Connection
From a round table of articles involving how best to personally lobby for change, all participants agree that the best approach for success is a personal one. I like the tip from Make that phone call to your legislator…Thank them for their time both on the phone and with sending a note of thanks.

Community Involvement
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering in areas of sustainability, here are some local organizations for you to consider:
• ros Sustainability Crew
• Sustainable Tulsa Scor3Card
• Global Gardens volunteer
• Oklahoma Green Schools Program
• Event Sustainability Crew volunteering such as Route 66 Marathon or Tulsa Tough
Success Story:

As I ponder this compilation, thoughts of Webster High School’s Green Team come to mind. To read the myriad of ways this team of students and volunteers successfully tracked and implemented eco savings at , check out my column from June 2011, “Going Green Can Save Our Schools Green.”

By finding common ground, the project was a success both economically and environmentally. We listened to each point of view and crafted a plan workable for everyone, and it all began because someone asked for a meeting to learn about the Oklahoma Green Schools program.

What has the New Year sparked in you? To send in your thoughts and ideas, email or follow me on Twitter @TrashTalkTulsa.

Updated 01-30-2017

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