Get interested!

As I have written about many times before, there are lots of things I love about arboriculture and the people it attracts. However, over the past couple of years some tendencies have emerged that I am finding increasingly hard to stomach.

Let me try to explain…

To do so, I would like to introduce you to the following Alan Watts quote, which Doug of Out On a Limb kindly pointed out to me. Thank you for that, Doug.

Touché, Alan!

So let us get interested! Interested in the people around us and the teams we work in, interested in the equipment we work with and the techniques we employ, interested in gaining a deep understanding of the hows and whys of our profession.

Part of this process may mean that I have to step back from something I am very involved in, have invested a lot of time and energy in or am passionate about and attempting, from this outside view to assess whether there are obvious points I have missed. Moreover, it may also involve listening to critical feedback or striving to objectively assess the merits and foreseeable risks.

The foundation for this has to be objectivity and facts, rather than echo boxes, which allow points of view to be reinforced by bouncing them off a few like-minded individuals. I totally understand the dynamic of this and am not insinuating any malevolent intent, yet regardless of the intent, this is not about rising above the masses – not about the “I” – , but rather to ensure that the systems and tools we use offer the highest degree possible of safety and ergonomic benefits.

Now, before you frantically start rummaging around your shed looking for pitchforks and torches: the statement above is not meant in an inflammatory spirit, I do not mean to deny these tools or techniques validity – for all I know they may be the best thing since sliced bread – , but the development and evaluation of PPE and other safety-critical equipment should not be a crusade which is all about what I believe, but rather a level-headed and objective process of deliberation and discussion, because we are interested in understanding how to get things right!

Nor do I mean to attack or value judge anybody, yet the same holds true here as it does of any other walk in life: be wary of – apparently – easy solutions! These are after all complex issues, let us ensure that the discussion regarding them are respectful, informed and inclusive rather than blinkered, superficial and entrenched.

Let us get interested and step away from the “I”!