I support Natalie’s comments…
I usually stay out of the online discussions (and probably should stay out of this one as well). However, while on the east and west coasts “sustainability” might be an oft-heard term it is not so here in the hinterlands. (Although I can proudly say that the OK Sustainability Network, with the P2 program, is having a surprising level of success in encouraging the discussion.)
It is my opinion that we work on highlighting/promoting/encouraging… “sustainability” on the home front(s) and steer those folks in our local areas to the broader discussion (hosted by NPPR, of course). This way we build the organization and bring in fresh faces and new thoughts (and membership). I truly enjoyed the sustainability sessions at the conference but wished that there were others (everyday ‘folks’) there to benefit.
As we elevate the discussion on sustainability and sustainable communities then we can possibly get more NGOs and grassroots into our organization. These are people from whom we need to have more input, discussion and perspective. I don’t think that any name change –alone– will get us there. Lets work locally to relate our activities to relevant local issues. This could be an exciting opportunity to “grow” our organization. We get enough of the sustainability folks in here and we will have no choice in adjusting our attitude!
Does that make sense to anyone?
Actually I have to add an historical note. The only time I remember changing our name when I was working at the Roundtable from 1994-2003, was in 1994 when we changed the name from the National Roundtable of State Pollution Prevention Programs (NRSPPP) to the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. I am getting old but that is all I remember :) . I could be off with the original name-there could have been one more P etc.,-but that was basically the name. The waste minimization wars happened before I got to NPPR so I have no idea about previous name changes.
The reason people wanted to change the name at the time was to be more inclusive of NPPR's local government members. Many of the leaders of the Local Government Workgroup (Linda Pratt, Tom Hersey and others) helped spearhead that change. It was actually a big deal but in that particular case most folks felt a shorter name that was inclusive of both state and local government members would be beneficial to everyone.
As for the debate of changing the NPPR name to embrace a wider mission. I have to agree with what so many others have already said, it is more important to work on the internal guts of the organization first (mission statement, goals and objectives) as opposed to focusing first on the window dressing (the name). I have always felt that pollution prevention was a much broader concept than how it was being applied or intepreted. As far as I am concerned you cannot truly get to sustainability without P2.
I also agree there is a certain amount of branding with the organization's current name. I do remember when the sustainability workgroup was launched. Initially there were lots of enthusiastic members who attended the meetings. Then slowly the support faded to such a degree that it was difficult for us to get people to come to the workgroup meetings. I don't know the answer to how you reinvigorate that critical part of the P2 landscape, but it seems to me that you need to do an overhaul on the inside first.
I have really enjoyed this debate. Thanks Ken Geiser for bringing this issue to the frontburner. NPPR is a great organization and whatever its name it will continue to break new ground and do good work. Thanks for letting me add my two cents.
an old P2 staffer