Reduce, reuse, recycle. People, planet, profit. Be Here Now. As we become ever-more conscious of the impact of human society on our planet, the challenges for our future appear daunting. As individuals, our impact is minimal, so any real hope of a positive outcome lies in collective action. And the core of the problem is how we consume energy.
I’ll be writing more about corporate influence here, because I believe it can be positive. When employees create internal “green teams” or CEOs support an eco-conscious initiative, behaviors change and things improve. Even companies in heavy industries like steel or mining have been known to take up the cause and change the way they do business.
Much of what I’ve blogged about so far echoes a contemporary ethos of environmentalism and simple living. Having accumulated so many complex manufactured goods over the decades, I feel a heavy responsibility for their responsible disposition and redistribution.
This is a burden that neither the ancient philosophers nor christian ascetics appear to have anticipated. (I can’t just leave this stuff by the side of the road – some of it may be toxic!). My career began in some fairly energy-intensive industries, including entertainment technology and business events, and we never considered how the instruments we built would be disposed of, until the Dumpster beckoned. As I became involved in tradeshow marketing, I saw an inexcusable volume of trash being generated – and dumpstered – at every event.
When I entered graduate school at Simmons to pursue an MBA I began to make some use of my eclectic background. I suspected that the power of our capital-driven economy could be mustered for real beneficial impact, and evidence is mounting to support that view.
At Simmons I researched corporate social responsibility (CSR) structures at global corporations. I joined Net Impact and studied renewable energy economics. I wrote a business plan for electric-car charging stations using wind power. I’ve continued to pursue every opportunity to learn about power generation and our electric grid, and have done community outreach and education around energy efficiency and residential solar programs.
That helps make a dent in the problem. But I’ve also been able to help some global industrial corporations educate their workforces, adopt policies, and otherwise change behaviors in a way that can have broader impact.
I’m hardly the only one contemplating these challenges and I find encouragement knowing that many wise minds are working hard to find solutions. A few places where I find inspiration include: