Norwegian Lutheran guilt ... is that what I feel every time I get on a plane to do my job as an organizational transition coach? Or is it deeper than that? For 13 years, I have been traveling the United States helping organizations, especially congregations, change in order to more fully transform people's lives and the world. Then over the last five years or so I woke up to the ecological devastation that I am partially responsible for because of my travel. I started to think about every decision I make and how it impacts the environment.
Last year, I worked with Brian McLaren on an 11-city "Everything Must Change" (EMC) tour around the U.S. We tried to motivate people to change their lifestyles, based on the way of Jesus, in order to help a world in crisis. Although you may think the travel associated with that tour would have increased my Norwegian guilt so tremendously that I couldn't bear it anymore, I realized that if every person who attended changed one thing in their life that decreased their ecological footprint in the world, we would more than make up for the footprint we left by traveling on the tour. Rationalization? Maybe. Or maybe not.
To lighten my footprint, I now do most of my "coaching" work by phone and e-mail. And instead of having follow-up EMC tour events all over the U.S., we provided two webinars at the end of 2008. In 2009, we'll provide teleconference discussion forums to bring people together and keep the conversation going. Discerning what I will do for my work regularly includes weighing the impact of my ecological footprint with the other values Jesus taught us. Not easy, but we must do it.
Linnea Nilsen Capshaw is co-founder of Deep Shift, a group of coaches who provide spiritual guidance for organizations. She lives in Columbia, Maryland. This article is excerpted from the forthcoming "Experiments With Truth" issue of Geez magazine due out today.