From Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder and CEO of Practically Green.
After three years of climate change feeling on the sidelines, yesterday Bloomberg (both the Mayor and his media organization), put global warming front and center in the conversation. I have no idea whether we will look back and say, “this was the turning point where we started paying attention again,” or if eight weeks from now, media attention will turn elsewhere. What I do know is that while mass media was largely quiet about climate change over these past few years, an entire movement has been underway where companies are taking sustainability seriously and making ground-breaking commitments to reducing carbon and resource utilization.
Why? It’s really good for business — and as this week reminded us, it’s really, really important. To quote friend Rob Day of Black Coral Capital:
Climate change is not a cleantech issue. It’s not a green issue. It’s a security issue, an economic issue, a food issue, an energy issue, a military issue, a safety issue for all Americans. The fight to mitigate climate change needs to be led by large insurance companies, by major manufacturers, by farmers, by soldiers, by homeowners…
I believe individuals are paying more attention too — to where their food comes from, to chemicals in their products, to consuming less and sharing more, to cutting back their fuel consumption and yes, even tackling that hard-to-decipher electric bill. But five years into trying to live each day healthier and more sustainably than the last, I can tell you each step isn’t easy and we need better solutions. I started Practically Green nearly three years ago because I felt we had one of those solutions that would make this sustainability journey simpler, and frankly, way more engaging for people. Because once you get over the initial challenge of figuring it out, sustainable choices feel like smarter choices and who doesn’t want to live smarter — especially during weeks like this.
This personal sustainability journey will likely last my life-time and I still have a LONG way to go. I haven’t figured out how to get an old 1896 brick house to be super energy efficient, let alone net-zero; we own way too many cars; the LED lights still won’t work in our historic office; and I will always love a really good burger. But we can choose to buy green power, we can choose cars that get >40 mpg, and we can eat vegetarian at least 2-3 days a week. We can also lobby our schools to choose recycled paper and clean with non-toxic products. We can ask our companies to offer composting in the cafeteria and good shared transportation choices. We can tell brands and companies that stick nasty stuff into the environment and our products that we don’t want to do business with them. We can invest in companies with innovative solutions to this problem and divest from those that do nothing. We can ask that sustainability be on the regular agenda for any organization we influence, whether that’s a neighborhood association or a corporate board. And we can always vote for people locally and nationally that understand this is really, really important. By focusing on what we can do, and moving forward one step at a time, our collective actions will add up and will make a difference.
So what now? My heart goes out to the area I called home for many years. Start by looking for an opportunity to support our friends in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Whether you are already doing a lot or just getting started in your own sustainability adventure, we invite you to join our amazing community of people — either as an individual or a business to find those next steps. Our communities have already challenged and supported each other to take over 1.6 million sustainable actions that have had a tremendous environmental impact. We think you will find that by working together, with some help from the best of what interactive technology has to offer, you are part of the solution too.