You may be wondering why our name has changed from ESSo to ESS☺ (still pronounced the same). This slight change was suggested by Ph.D. student Diana Chen and I decided to adopt it immediately. I hope the ☺ elegantly does three things.
First and foremost, I hope the ☺ makes you smile and therefore feel good. I’m hoping for a reaction like how a baby will smile when you smile at them, and vice versa. Or like how the baby, and probably you, smile when you see Elmo’s furry red face. I know our ESS☺ smiley won’t be as effective as a baby or Elmo, but the ☺ is certainly better than a plain old o.
Second, I hope the ☺ conveys that sustainability, and the work our group does, is ultimately about helping people. Sure, I appreciate the environment. I enjoy running through mysterious woods or strolling along a peaceful beach. I appreciate beautiful views, sweet summer nights, and the cool before dawn. But I am more appreciative that the environment allows me to have food and freedom and the opportunity to do rewarding work. And I am most appreciative that our habitable environment makes possible my cherished relationships with family and friends. So yes, sustainability does involve the environment, but I hope the ☺ helps us remember why that matters.
Finally, I hope that the ☺ reminds our group, especially me, and others like us to enjoy the journey. Since there is absolutely no evidence1 that being miserable or taking yourself too seriously leads to better outcomes, I don’t see any harm in having some fun while working passionately. In fact, if you aren’t enjoying something, why would you want it to be sustainable?
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.
- if there is, ignore it [↩]