The Twilight Zone. 
In Search Of….  
The X-Files.   

These television shows fueled the imaginations of generations, fostering curiosity while delivering cautionary tales about how we, as residents of this celestial sphere, must tread carefully when it comes to how we treat our planet and one another. 

The tagline for The X-Files was one of hope in the face of adversity: “The Truth Is Out There.” And few fringe communities know more about hope in the pursuit of truth than the folks who have, for decades, worked to get the United States government to speak openly about UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).   

Just as UFOs have grown more prominent and tangible in our societal consciousness due to recent developments, so too has the urgency of climate change, and the need for sustainable practices to counteract it.  

A Brief History of UFOs 

The existence of a top-secret military base at Groom Lake, Nevada known as Area 51 was once a favorite fairytale of UFO enthusiasts. For decades the government denied its existence, in spite of video footage from the 1990s and early 2000s that showed robust perimeter security measures and unusual aircraft in the skies overhead.  
That is, until one day in August of 2013 when a declassified CIA report on the development of the U-2 spy plane became public. Within that document was the straightforward and seemingly casual verification of the existence of the formerly secret Nevada base, Area 51. Now the region around Area 51 is a commercial tourist area.  
This bizarre bending of reality happened once more this past June when the Pentagon released a nine-page document disclosing the existence of UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon — the updated term for UFOs). The document states, “Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects” with multiple sensors recording their presence. It continues, “In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics.”  
That’s the Pentagon’s way of saying, “These things are physically present in our skies, but we have no idea what they are.” 
The lesson we can take from this truth-seeking vignette is that curiosity and caution, the drive to both understand and protect our strange little marble in the cosmos, are two sides of the same coin.

Turning Sustainability into a Reality 

The front-runners in the cultural shift to pursuing a holistically more sustainable model for how we live our lives have, much like those chasing UFOs, been the subject of eyebrows-raised scrutiny or even outright ridicule in past years. But as we tune in to recent headlines — raging fires, floods, droughts, freezes — it’s apparent that we need to find a more sustainable way of both living our lives and conducting business. 

It wasn’t long ago that reactionary fixes and half-measures were the norm when addressing environmental issues. The presence of a recycling bin in the office might have been considered an “eco-friendly culture.” Much like UFOs, the concept of climate change was treated by many as a fringe theory — unseen, and thus not worth taking seriously. 

In this case, growing bodies of data and rigorous scientific study have served as substitutes for photographic evidence. Today, the challenges facing our world cannot be ignored, nor can the need for everyone to participate in developing solutions. The truth is out there, right in front of us, for all to see. 

As this cultural shift to sustainability gains momentum, the stony monolith of Business is falling away, revealing the human and environmental threads that run through every industry. Those who sought to conduct their enterprises mindful of their impact on the lands and peoples who share their space and contribute to their wealth are now prospering, as our consumer culture clamors for sustainability. Others are playing catch-up. 

As the Pentagon has learned, so are businesses learning: sometimes it is best to lean into the truth, rather than obscure it. There are so many tools and services now available to businesses who wish to embrace sustainability. Science and society have created outlines and benchmarks for what sustainable practices look like, how businesses can demonstrate they value their human and social capital, and ways in which industries can function with minimal environmental impact. 

Moreover, the corporate world faces mounting pressure to step up, as ESG becomes a guiding force for investors and stakeholders increasingly hold businesses accountable for their environmental impacts. The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance recently reported that sustainable investments now account for more than a third of global assets

At the end of the day, “business as usual” is not a winning strategy. Civilians want honesty and transparency from our government and military leadership. Consumers want the same from our business leaders.  

At Antea Group, we're here and ready to help reduce the ambiguity and vagueness of sustainability initiatives to help you form concrete goals, plans, and programs. If you still feel like you're chasing UFOs in your efforts to align with the evolving expectations and demands of consumers, investors, and other stakeholders, we're happy to help shine a light.

Check out our assortment of sustainability consulting services and reach out if you're ready to start the conversation.  

Sustainability is no longer fringe. It is now. After all, don’t we all want to be around long enough to find out exactly what these unusual aerial phenomena really are? 

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