Inspiration for this week's philosophical meanderings comes from way back, high school biology class. I think I was a junior, and this thought has stayed with me since then. And no, surprisingly, it's not related to the formaldehyde the frogs were dunked in….

It was a basic concept regarding the three basic choices life has when faced with an obstacle to continuing:

  1. Change our environment.
  2. Change ourselves.
  3. We can die.
It's surprising how many ways you can adapt that concept in how we live our lives. It can be as simple as being too cold in a room: turn up the heat (change the environment), put on a sweater (change ourselves) or suffer (i.e., do nothing or "die".) It can be as motivating as dealing with a horrible job/relationship: change the environment by trying to change the other people or even getting out of the job/relations completely, or try to change your attitude or approach to the situation so it doesn't impact you as much, or suffer through it.

At work, it often comes into play with the regulations I'm dealing with. (Fortunately it isn't a factor in terms of my actual employment-I love Metropolitan and the people I work with. Rather, my stress comes from the outside forces putting barriers on our business growth.)

All of us have a choice when faced with regulations and business barriers. First we try to change the regulatory environment: We write comments, we go to our politicians, we go to the media, we go to organizations and associations. We try to make the environment for our business better.

If we fail at that, we adapt, right? We change ourselves as needed. Sometimes it is simply a matter of adding more paperwork to our lives-we don't actually have to change our production or business, just document it differently-and sometimes that means actually changing something we do. In the wood industry, that might be changing glues because of the EPA, or dropping a species because of Lacey. It might be changing sources of supply because of a dumping order.

What I refuse to do is simply give up and die.

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")