Keep Moving Forward

By Hillary Sward

I don’t know how anyone else feels, but the amount of high quality material that we can access instantly for free is overwhelming in the most amazing of ways.  I, for one, had been neglecting the amazing world of the internet prior to the last several weeks.  I am online often for focused research, but rarely for a general perusal.  I have always preferred the book, the place, and the face-to-face over the internet and other techy things, but man, can I just take a second to appreciate what resources we actually have if we’re willing to put in a little time and effort to find it?  We truly live in an incredible time and should be utilizing our online resources to the fullest extent.  Do you want to know who the man with the iron hand was? You can find it online. Why is the sky blue?  Look it up. What was the medieval dance mania, do penguins have knees, and what do colors smell like?  Yup.  It’s all online.

“I don’t know why, but overall it just smells like the color brown. Your thoughts?” – Eugene Fitzherbert

Generally, going down the rabbit hole of the internet hasn’t been terribly productive in the past, but in this day and age, dig.  And keep digging until you find that super obscure article or game that is just PERFECT for what you need.  Go beyond the first page of Google results.  That’s where the good stuff hides.

“Can’t tell you what you’ll find… Dig a little deeper and you’ll know.” – Mama Odie

Awhile back, after our regular routines were demolished (abruptly I might add), I opened my online calendar, started to delete events, called to cancel busses, and the reality set in.  I realized that if I wanted my role as a Zero Waste Educator to continue with as little interruption as possible, I had to get ZWAP! going in an online direction.  So I started doing some brainstorming, breaking ZWAP! into many pieces, and determining what can go online and what needs to happen in order for this online counterpart to take flight.

“Change starts with you.” – Judy Hopps

Undeniably, there have been ups and downs and lots of conversations throughout this process.  Trying to figure out what can be cut in this program, what can be adapted, and what needs to stay exactly as is.  How long should this presentation be?  Does it need to be shorter if it isn’t interactive? How can I keep this engaging?  And so many other questions that all seem irrelevant now.  It has been a fairly long process to turn a two-part, in person program into an online course without interfering with our goals and outcomes.  To be honest, I got a little impatient at times, and downright frustrated, but now, I am very happy with the direction ZWAP! is going.

“Even miracles take a little time.” – Fairy Godmother

Well said, Fairy Godmother, well said.

I’m happy with ZWAP! because I kept making progress.  I kept moving forward with it, and if an idea didn’t pan out, then I found an alternative.  Rarely will you ever fully succeed on the first try.  Now, finally getting ready to launch the Zero Waste Ambassador Program Online (or ZWAP-O!), I have been looking into a wide variety of resources to supplement the core message of the program.  And the internet has not disappointed.  If anything, I have too much and need to narrow it down.  Now I know there will be one more educational source available for kids, and I get to continue spreading the word about waste reduction and what we all can do about it.  And teachers are very excited about ZWAP-O!, leaving me feeling fulfilled that I have been able to continue delivering a program that teachers have come to love over the last several years.  Excited teachers and the anticipation of ZWAP-O! have me wanting to yell “Booyah!” with Kuzsco.

“I have an excellent idea!  Let’s change the subject.” – The March Hare

Okay, March Hare, I’ll try.

I would like to add that people are equally as impressive, if not even more so.  People are doing incredible things and are capable of so much more than they may have thought possible.  Every day I am amazed by what an individual or an organization has done.  Some people have been limited by the terms of their role previously, and now that our lives have collectively shifted, possibilities for those people to shine have come forward.  Others were stuck in the monotonous 9 to 5 activities and these modifications have re-awakened them.  New hobbies and passions are being discovered, and many are spending more time with their families, in person or virtually.  Maybe we’re in a funk and having a hard time, but we’re still moving forward, and that is remarkable.  Keep feeding your fire in whatever way you need to, and if you can, help ignite others.

“Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” – Snow White

No matter what set-backs you face and frustrations you fight, keep moving forward.  If you’re going to fail, do it, and do it hard, but just make sure you fail forward.  In the wise words of a regal blue tang, “Just keep swimming.”


“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long.  We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

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