I first met Reza Alborz at a Loudoun Green Drinks event back in February. After their presentation, the general conversation in the room turned to climate change being so overwhelming that it gets pretty depressing. But then it turned to the idea of focusing on one area: for instance focus on one area that your city or town is affected by the most, e.g., air pollution, or water, or energy or waste management. It must have struck a chord, because Reza jumped in and agreed. Then he told us a bit of his story, how he focused on one thing and stressed that persistence is key…
Reza is a huge soccer fan and started volunteering at RFK Stadium in Washington, D. C. about four years ago. According to Wikipedia, RFK Stadium was originally built in 1961 as a joint venture between the DC Armory Board and the U.S. Department of the Interior. It was first named the D. C. Stadium and then renamed to RFK Stadium in honor of Robert F. Kennedy. It’s owned by the D.C. government and is operated by Events DC (successor agency to the DC Armory Board) and is the current home to MLS’s D.C. United soccer team.
Change starts to happen when the questions begin to be asked - is there more?, why?, why not? Reza began by asking the volunteer manager about recycling the cans and bottles that were just winding up in the garbage. The manager said to send him an email and so Reza did. And he emailed him again and again, and stopped by and phoned and emailed, he kept it up over the course of three years, asking and asking and asking - why weren’t they recycling?
In Reza’s own words:
But, I can tell you that I've been a soccer fan all of my life and I've been following D.C. United since the inception of M.L.S. back in 1996 and just seeing all of the not only beer cans, but soda and baskets that they use for food being thrown away was and still is disgusting. Even a little bit of recycling helps. I remember before they placed the bins within the stadium, I would personally take home whatever recycling I could fit into my bag. At times, the bags I would bring with me to the stadium kept getting bigger and bigger.
We can’t recycle our way out of climate change, but waste management is a key business activity these days, and there are components in garbage that are a commodity, e.g., cardboard, glass, etc.
This article isn’t trying to disrespect Events D.C. in any way. Walking around the stadium it looked remarkably clean, like they really do care about the place. Change is hard. It sure would be interesting to find out why it took them so long to implement recycling at RFK. Was it a culture shift? Was it cost? Why DID it take them so long to implement this change?
Thank-you Reza!! What a great example of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy - “Be the change that you wish to see in the world"
Your Business Our World
Photography by C.D. Guillaudeu ©2014
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