Knowing what to say which will get applause from the peers immediately surrounding me... that's the difference between a politician and a good doctor. There are more politicians than doctors on Facebook and Twitter.
As a young man I wanted to worship the truth. "Truth is light, faith is gravity". I cannot function denying either. Between any dialectic of the two, truth usually wins, and I can usually trust my sight better than my balance. But not always, information can mislead, like a beam of light that blinds you from a wrong angle.
Off to battle. I chose environmentalism because it's the thing we are screwing up which is most likely to be blamed by generations unborn, and I have always been fascinated by philosophers and scholars and holy men speaking to me from a distant past. Extinction may not turn out to be "forever", there may be a tiger and dinosaur heaven, I don't know everything. But with the information in front of me I want to make a difference that someone someday would care about without ever knowing who I was.
That's part of what's fascinating when I hear, second hand, what some people in the industry think motivates me. People are pretty sure by now that it's not greed. So perhaps ol' Ingenthron's out for glory, the ego-driven explanation explains blogs and pontificatoins nicely.
While I confess I am proud of the recycling work I've done, I know that it will one day be like a ten year gig by a famous boxer (Jack Johnson), a famous orator (Martin Luther King, Jr), a famous performer (W.C. Fields), or famous engineer (H. Rembert).
Oh, you don't know Rembert? The cotton baler (pictured above) is pretty much the same thing that drives the pre-shredding recycling industry. Paper gets baled, ABS plastic gets baled, wire gets baled, steel gets baled... the baling area's one of the busiest places at our plant. I correctly predicted (approximately) the employment of the Recycling Industry in Massachusetts in 1992 by counting the horizontal balers and estimated number of cars in recycling parking lots. You could have predicted the number of slaves in the South with a good handle on the number of Eli Whitney's cotton gin sales.
When you are really focused on truth, and willing to say unpopular things, that's a secret of learning. It makes you smarter when you weed out the platitudes aimed at applause, the tweets to the converted are a waste of electrons.