It was a crucial workshop for an high profile new client. I got to the venue in good time, found my seminar room, tweaked the layout, set up my laptop, checked the presentation, stuck my A0 brainstorming sheets to the walls and distributed Post-Its around the tables. All set and ready, so I headed off for a coffee.
After the initial plenary sessions, I walked briskly back to the seminar room to be there before the first delegate. I walked into the room and my heart sank - I had left all the lights blazing, projector on, and my laptop plugged in for two hours in an empty room. I thanked my lucky stars that no-one had noticed, acted like nothing had happened and ran the workshop - on how to persuade fellow staff members to behave in a greener way. All the time, a little worm of guilt wriggled away at the back of my mind.
They say cobblers are the worst shod, but there is no excuse for saying one thing and doing another. Apart from the sheer hypocrisy of it, "do as I say, not as I do" can hole your sustainability efforts below the water - cynics will justify their cynical stance, enthusiasts will feel betrayed, and the rest will say "why bother?"
I've certainly learnt my lesson. I make a point of double checking seminar rooms at break times and switching off everything I can before leaving. I've also started reusing my brainstorming charts for as long as they stay semi-presentable. On the rare occasions I have to fly, I offset the emissions (better than nothing).
So, if your role involves spreading the green message, it is worth spending taking few minutes every so often and thinking - "how can I behave 'greener'?". Don't fall into the trap of giving yourself a pass 'cos of all the good work you do. You must be an exemplar.