Taking Care of Business By Taking Care of Ourselves, Our Friends

John Kassel

The run-up to the holidays is always a busy time of year, and can make us all feel a bit overstretched. That’s certainly true at CLF.

In fact, at times this fall it has felt like we’ve been at a pre-holiday pace since Labor Day. In preparing an internal President’s Report in December, I realized I could only capture a fraction of our accomplishments – the tip of a large iceberg of great work that we love to do.

I worry sometimes, frankly, that we love it too much. My concern for all of us (in CLF and in every cause-driven organization) is that we take care of ourselves as we do what we do. This includes optimizing our efficiency, taking time off to recharge, leaving work at work, and of course selecting work carefully so that we spend our time and energy wisely. These are relatively objective elements of prudent and careful management.

It also includes the more subjective, human-oriented, affective things we all do – as human beings – to feel fulfilled, grounded and happy: asking for, receiving and giving help, supporting our partners and being supported by them, sharing common cause. There is nothing quite so energizing and gratifying as knowing that we’re in it together.

This past year was replete with examples of how we at CLF do this at the inter-organizational level. We partnered with other groups, we led coalitions, we leveraged our work for the benefit of similarly-aligned organizations with complementary skills, we developed strategy in cooperation with others and implemented it jointly. As I said in a recent letter to The New York Times, it’s “a great time to be in the environmental movement.” These partnerships are one of the reasons; they sustain us.

As we round the dark corner of the year and head into the light, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a joyous new year.



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