Acting Up on Earth’s Behalf

It’s April – the Earth is calling

At long last, it’s the wonderful month of April. Here in Portland, the cherry trees are blooming and there’s an energy in the air as winter releases its grip.

Image result for cherry blossoms in PortlandApril is also the time to show your serious support for the planet.  Earth Day is on April 22. This year the  Earth Day Network is organizing the huge “March for Science” in Washington D.C. on that day.

In my work, I happily focus on the intersection of the earth and business every day. But this year, April’s Earth festivities call for “all-hands-on-deck.”  And you can help.

The withdrawal of clean energy help at a federal level…

The new administration has chosen to withdraw its support from the Clean Power Plan, sign off on building the Keystone pipeline that carries fossil fuel, and label global warming a “concept … invented by the Chinese” – to name just a few truly awful actions.

In fact, global warming is something that scientists have been worried about since the 1980s. And for many of us regular citizens, it’s something we have seen with our own eyes. Think Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, or the massive wildfires that burned over 10 million U.S. acres in 2015 alone.

I am baffled that the feds have chosen to ignore the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that come with renewable energy, smart home technologies, and electric vehicles. There are endless business opportunities, right here in America, for everything from sustainable fashion to sustainable agriculture.

That’s where you come in.

Image result for daffodils


… means that action at the state and local level is crucial

I moved to Portland, OR because the city has a well-deserved reputation, not only for being weird and making lots of craft beer, but also for being “green.” My apartment building is LEED-certified, the public transit is so good that we sold one of our two cars, and there are more farmers markets offering organic food and locally made goods than I can shake a stick at.

That’s the norm here. You may have heard that Nike and Intel have their headquarters here. But did you know that SolarWorld and Vestas (the world’s largest builder of wind turbines) are just down the street too? Did you also know that “wind turbine technician” is one of the most sought-after employees right now?

I’d rather support American jobs and American workers, and green businesses do that far better than organizations that outsource overseas. Indeed, “green” thinking is so embedded here that it starts early. I recently read of the Portland teen who developed a portable solar panel that homeless people can use to power lights or devices.

Here’s what I’m doing to push the clean energy agenda forward

So this April, I’m putting my time (and money) where my mouth is by:

  • Marching in Portland’s “sister march” for the big March for Science on April 22. Much as I’d like to be in D.C., flying from Portland to D.C. would just create more greenhouse gas emissions. Here, I can walk to what I expect will be a big march, and still get my point across. To those who think “it won’t make a difference,” I beg to differ.
  • Visiting my Senators in person this month. Oregon’s Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have done yeoman’s work to advance policies for clean energy and GHG emissions reductions. I plan to say, “Thank you” and “how can I help?”
  • Mentoring a student from a local university. Starting this month, I’ll share my career experiences with a Portland State University student who majors in Sustainability. I want these kids to succeed, even if I have more mistakes to share than victories.
  • Continue telling the truth on this blog about climate change and business. Because climate change is a clear and present danger. And businesses can remain profitable while addressing it. Facts matter. We ignore them at our peril.

How about you?

  • Check out the sister marches in your area and go. April 22 is a Saturday, so you’re off work (I hope)! I suspect you’ll find an amazing amount of camaraderie there.
  • If you’re not the marching type, write a letter to your local paper about how important you know climate change is. Did you know that subscriptions to newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post since the election? Your words will reach more people than you might think!
  • Get involved at the state and local level. While I salute all the folks who have decided to run for office – everything from local school boards to state wide office – that takes time. Go to your Congressional Town Hall that will be held this month and speak up about climate change, clean energy and green American jobs.

Let’s make April awesome for the planet!

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