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Re: An Open Letter to the Board of the National P2 Roundtable

KFC (standing for Kentucky FRIED Chicken) became KFC (not standing for
anything) to tap into the health-conscious crowd. I still know it as
Kentucky Fried Chicken. A local mall changed its name incorporating the new
and the old names. I still know it by the old name (although maybe that
says more about be than about the new name). Dead civilians became
"collateral damage," but they're still dead. Retreat became "strategic
withdrawal," but "we still ran like hell.  BMW is still too pricey for my
wallet. (Okay; I'm past my self pity now.)

Unfortunately, I have seen many fine organizations become so bogged down in
names, semantics, sensitivities and minutia that they end up not doing any
of the work that the fine sounding names promise they will do. The mission
of the organization becomes "to name the organization." I know men (not to
be sexist, but that was the make up of the workforce on that project) who
made 20-year careers working on a 10-mile stretch of interstate nearby.
Their sons and daughters are making fine careers on that same stretch.
(There's about a 5-mile line of I-80 south of Chicago of which the same
might be said.) To the casual observer driving past once every 6 months or
so [or three years later in another case] and seeing exactly the same
equipment in exactly the same location on exactly the same piece of
asphalt, one wonders what is getting done.

A better conversation would be "how do we make preventing pollution (in all
its many permutations, guises, activities, and pseudonyms) more sexy?" The
bottom line is, we are about making the world a better place. We do that by
making sure nothing harmful to children and other living things gets loose
to terrorize our bodies, our gardens, our food supplies, our water
supplies. Call it what you will, the end result is what matters most. Be
clear about the end result, realize that different players will play in
different ways, and work more, talk less. Let us not be like the Popular
Liberation Front in "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and debate for 15
minutes on the wording of a declaration announcing that the time for talk
is past and it is time for action.

Let's do the action. The results will ensure anyone will know and
understand the name.

For what it's worth:

Phillip J. Rooney, Ph.D.
Public Health Educator II
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
3140 N Street
Lincoln, NE 68510

(402) 441-8644

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