Butterfly Effect, by VP of Leadership Development Charla Gervers
Being that it’s Earth Month at Viridian, we’ve been talking a lot about the “butterfly effect.” And I don’t mean the eerie Ashton Kutcher movie. I’m referencing the chaos theory that small causes can have large effects. It essentially comes from the metaphorical thought that a butterfly flapping its wings at a precise moment can eventually cause a hurricane somewhere else in the world. Though I’m no meteorologist, I can attest to the fact that even the smallest of actions can create a massive impact.
I think that’s an important concept to keep in mind when thinking about sustainability practices—whether in April or any other month. The world can sometimes make us feel small and helpless, but we have much more power and influence than we give ourselves credit for.
Entering into Earth Month definitely makes me stop and think about this a bit more. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I decided to join Viridian over a year ago—I was inspired by the company-wide message that we are all important, our actions matter and collectively we can make a HUGE, positive difference.
When Viridian’s annual Sustainability Report was first presented to me, the course of my professional life—and personal life—completely changed. Though I had been in the network marketing business for two decades, I had never seen a company so dedicated to a worthy cause. I remember showing my 10-year-old son the stat about how Viridian’s impact between 2009 and 2014 was equivalent to recycling 35,748,486,150 2-liter plastic bottles—and how you could place those water bottles end-to-end and they would extend to the moon and back 14 times. He thought it was so cool and showed the page to all his friends.
It wasn’t just about earning “cool mom” points with my son (though, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?), but it was about this company and its people being so passionate about a topic that truly touches each of us—regardless of age, geographical location, gender or race. We all only have this one earth, and it’s our job—and our privilege—to protect it while we’re on it.
This is my second Earth Month with Viridian, and I already have such a clearer sense of how important my everyday choices can be. I’ve been working on creating a Monarch Butterfly Garden in my backyard. Viridian has done this before in New Jersey, and I actually have a friend in San Diego who owns a lands
cape architecture business that specializes in conserving water. He has constructed a dozen Monarch Butterfly Gardens across San Diego so far, and is even working with the city to develop them on city-owned property. He sent me the milkweed seeds and directions, and I got right to work.
In addition, my son’s school just planted a wildflower garden specifically for honeybees. You don’t have to look too hard to see that bees are a dying population—it’s a major issue plaguing our society. A beekeeper came to the school to explain the ways that bees affect humans and our very existence. The school encouraged students and their parents to turn unused ground into wildflower areas for the purpose of pollination. Needless to say, that got us buzzing (pun intended) and
a wildflower garden will be next on our home projects list.
The point is, whether you’re taking on a backyard project with your kids, hosting a park cleanup within your local community, or attending one of our worldly, service-driven trips, you are doing your part to support a more sustainable earth.
Personally, it’s been an overwhelmingly gratifying experience to align my career with something so much bigger than myself—so much bigger than all of us.
I invite you to join us in celebrating Earth Month this April. Share the new 2016 Sustainability Report with someone. Plant a tree. Offer those around you the chance to be a part of something incredible.
Together, we can be the butterflies flapping their wings, and improving the planet can be our hurricanes.
By the way, the “butterfly effect” was first introduced by Connecticut-native Edward Norton Lorenz. Viridian is a Connecticut-based company. Coincidence? I think not.