Wanted: One Green CPA
Can there be a correlation between passion and utility? Between inspiration and perspiration? Is there a way to make your dream job the same as your day job (and still earn a living)? These are the questions that have been plaguing me as of late. Until recently, I have been focused more on the utility, the perspiration, than the "dream". As the title of this blog might suggest, that focus has been to become a Certified Public Accountant, and have those three elusive little letters after my name: C.P.A. Now, as I am (hopefully) almost done with that journey (one exam left, and then the long wait for the state of California to grant me my license), I am beginning to realize that I am actually only at the beginning of a long career. And, while I enjoy the general activities of my job, I have started to wonder what I will actually do with that license once I receive it.
Of course, I think that the majority of us would like to serve the "greater good", in some capacity, throughout our lives. And I am no exception. But, what does that mean: serve the greater good? It sounds so broad, so huge, so impossible to achieve. So, many of us are left stagnant, wondering what one person could actually do to help anyone or anything. To me, serving the "greater good" would somehow benefit society, whether that is local or global, in either a small way or a large way. (Yeah, that narrows it down, doesn't it?) But, how does one choose a cause? I think most of us don't just have one cause that we are passionate about - I know that I don't. Just to name a few things I wish I could do something about right now: help the poor learn about nutrition, save the polar bears, fix the terrible practices in recycling electronics, solve America's health care crisis, keep our green spaces from turning into sprawling subdivisions, remind people that they don't need an SUV to drive to the office....well, I guess the list goes on and on. But, each of these causes all have something in common: the environment.
I can't help but think that the majority of America's current, pressing problems are all interrelated. It's no coincidence that the economy, the health of our citizens, and the environment are all crashing at the exact same time. And, I don't think we can all sit around and wait for our politicians to get their acts together and fix this. First of all, they need to know it's something that the voters care deeply about before they will ever make any real strides. Second of all, it really is up to individual responsibility, because it's going to take a complete change in the mindset of the American people to make any real strides in fixing our myriad of problems. This brings me back to my original question - can I be both a CPA and work to solve (on any level) the global environmental crisis that we face today? Can business (dare I say it?) actually help the "greater good"? Can I afford a decent standard of living while bringing up the standard of living for others?
This is the question that I will explore in this blog. As for the title of this blog - The Greenest CPA - do I really consider myself to be the greenest CPA out there? Of course not, not even close. It's something I would like to aspire to, and like any great goal, is actually much bigger than myself. To me, the idea of the Greenest CPA is an idea of business working with the environment, aiding in the greater good, to create a more sustainable way of life than the one business has been promoting for at least the past thirty years.
Today, on this Earth Day 2009, we stand at the beginning of a change in both thought and attitude, as young and unformed as my career as a CPA. It will be hard for us to make these changes, but I don't think we will have much of a choice. As our incomes sadly shrink, we may come to see that conserving the environment also helps us conserve what little is left in our savings accounts. As our medical bills become impossible to pay, we may find that eating organically grown fruits and vegetables can stave off so many of the chronic diseases that have become all too prevalent in our lives recently. As our way of life continues to crash around us, we may find that another, more sustainable and healthier way of life, while less grand, is actually a better way to live. Too optimistic? I hope not. For me, it's my vision of the future. But, like the majority of Americans, I have a long way to go to get there. In the past two years, my husband and I have been making small steps to try to decrease our impact on the environment, but we have many more small steps to take. I plan to use this blog to help me stay committed to our cause.
I also plan to use this blog to explore how I can make an impact as a CPA, as well as as a citizen. I know that there are ways accountants and business can hurt society and the environment, but I want to make a commitment to be on the other side. I want to use my newly gained technical expertise to make a difference in the right ways. How will I do that? I am not sure yet. But, as I write in this blog, I think that I will get closer to figuring that out. I hope that I will have enough readers, as time goes by, that people will be able to help me out in my cause, and that I can help and inspire others. I guess you could call this my mission statement. Happy Earth Day!