Say hello to My Green Lab Ambassador and European Product Manager at Mettler-Toledo Rainin Tim Dillon! Growing up in rural Ireland opened Tim's eyes to the joys of nature, and his education and work in the world of science inspires him to advocate for and raise awareness about sustainability.
"Since embarking on a sustainability journey, with My Green Lab as a partner, I have learned of many ways that we, as individuals, can contribute to positive change. My Green Lab provides individuals with the knowledge and motivation to take personal responsibility for their actions, often shining a light on aspects of sustainability that would have otherwise remained in the dark," says Tim.
Read on to learn more about Tim and his sustainability journey below.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the world of nature; I grew up in rural Ireland and consider myself fortunate to have been immersed in a wild countryside for all of my younger life. This fascination and joy followed me throughout my later education when I studied Biology/Ecology at university and later analytical techniques as a post graduate.
After a brief sojourn in the lab, the city and business beckoned. The opportunity and vibrancy of London attracted me. Still, I was enamored with the parallels between natural ecosystems and business ecosystems. This philosophy formed a constant backdrop to my early career, a time in which I set up and managed businesses as diverse as a high street photography lab and a cocktail bar. Always looking for lessons from natural systems and processes that could be applied to business practices, I never lost my belief that stable, self-regulating systems will thrive over those that are largely one sided and myopic.
Many years later and once again, I find myself drawn to the world of science. Rainin has provided me with the opportunity to combine my passion for science with my love of business and people. I get to visit many labs, speak to a wonderfully diverse mix of scientists, business administrators and, for me, the best bit, Sustainability Warriors (they do not always work in the lab you know!). Through my remit to drive the culture of sustainability through Rainin and outwards into the larger scientific community, I feel I have an opportunity to educate and influence people for the better, to raise awareness of the everyday practical steps that we can all take to lighten our footprint on the planet.
I believe that everyone can make a difference, and small acts matter. In helping people realize this, and showing them how, I feel that I, in turn contribute towards my own personal goal of effecting positive change.
What drives you to be more sustainable in the laboratory?
First, a small confession. I do not work in a lab these days, but I do meet a lot of people who do, from wide variety of labs and disciplines too. From academic researchers in universities, to contract researchers in more commercial settings, to quality managers in industrial labs.
Having the opportunity to meet so many people in so many organizations means that I have the perfect opportunity to understand the different challenges that need to be overcome and to help many people make changes that make a difference. The sheer scale of the potential and breadth of contact drives me to capitalize on the chance to help strip resource use and energy burdens from a wide reaching field of influence, and not just in the UK where I am based, but across Europe too, as far afield a Turkey and Russia.
Albert Einstein summed it up perfectly when he said that compounding returns are the eighth wonder of the world. Showing someone how they can strip 50% of the plastic out of a task that they perform every day without changing their task is my way of adding my contribution to the pool of Sustainability Capital that will go on to reap compounding future returns. For every person that adopts new, more sustainable practices now has the tools and information to influence somebody else, at the very least they can lead by example.
In the last 90 years the population of planet Earth has tripled. In one human life span there are now three times the number of humans consuming resources, producing waste, and generally stomping on the planet. The pace of change is overwhelming and so is the sense of urgency I feel, NOW is the time to do something, inaction is not an option if we want our grandchildren to enjoy the world as we have. The countryside of my childhood is sadly gone, the Corncrakes no longer have hay meadows for nesting and the trout streams are green with fertilizer runoff.
This sense of urgency is what drives me.
What is the most interesting thing you learned while becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador?
The scope of what is possible has been the biggest revelation for me. Since embarking on a sustainability journey, with My Green Lab as a partner, I have learned of many ways that we, as individuals, can contribute to positive change. My Green lab provides individuals with the knowledge and motivation to take personal responsibility for their actions, often shining a light on aspects of sustainability that would have otherwise remained in the dark.
My Green lab looks at every aspect of sustainability in the lab. From materials to energy, from personal practices to systems design, from small everyday actions by individuals to sweeping organizational culture changes.
How has the My Green Lab Ambassador Program enriched your sustainability journey?
By far, it is the community that My Green Lab fosters that has enriched my journey - apart from the expertise, the people are its biggest asset. A mutually supportive and motivated community that is striving every day to push the boundaries of positive change. I have probably been about for more years than most of the people I meet in my role, and one thing I have learned is that the world is made up of people, not places. The My Green Lab community is a rich, diverse and committed community that I am very happy to be associated with.
What are your 2021 sustainability goals?
My sustainability goals for 2021 are, in broad outline, very similar to my sustainability goals for 2022, 2023, 2024……to meet as many people as possible and to help them make changes that make a difference, to push the needle in the right direction, no matter how small the nudge. To continue to learn, to keep an open mind and most importantly, to do some something positive.
I want to hear as many stories as possible, to talk to and learn from people in my day to day endeavors. So please, do reach out at Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to learn about what you do and how you strive to make a difference.
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