December 15, 2008
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

If you are like me, you too are getting tired of the constant barrage of negative doomsday messaging in the media. Every day the headlines and broadcasters shout about the environmental crisis and economic meltdown. Even in so-called boom times, the media collect, magnify and exaggerate all the bad news in the world. As individuals, it is difficult to resist a feeling of helplessness, dread and fear. It reminds me of the line in the Bruce Cockburn song, Laughter: “A laugh for the newsprint nightmare, a world that never was.”

Fear masks reality. It prevents us from seeing clearly. It distracts us. It obstructs progress and clouds our judgement.

Recently Bob Adams, Tom Intven and I went to a conference that included industry members and association staff from all over the U.S. Talk of the economy dominated conversations. All of us agreed that in turbulent and uncertain times, it is much more important to band together to encourage and help each other.

North American webinar

On December 18, we are planning to collectively host a North American-wide webinar that is aimed at reducing fear. The content will encourage and be positive and nurturing. It will spread some good news about our green industry and help our members realize the importance of community and positive action. Jim Paluch of JP Horizons (one of the most positive people I know) has agreed to help us with the content (free of charge). We will also feature a number of inspirational, experienced and wise business owners, who have agreed to “tell their story” of how they thrived in spite of downward economic cycles.

Within one day of sending out the webinar idea, the following associations agreed to participate in what might become the largest (and most positive) webinar simulcast in the horticultural world: Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association, Ohio Landscape Association, Garden Centres of America, North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association, Associated Contractors of Colorado, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, Michigan Green Industry Association, Arizona Nursery Association, Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association, Montana Nursery and Landscape Association, Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association, PLANET, New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, Illinois Green Industry Association, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, Montana Nursery and Landscape Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association, Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.

Community, contribution and positive action can help allay the fears and remind us of the abundance we enjoy.
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at