I have some happy news to report! I have joined the NY Sun Works team this month. NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization implementing environmental science labs & hydroponic greenhouses in schools throughout the New York City and New Jersey area. My job is to support administrators and teachers with the labs and environmental science curriculum. My experience as a sustainability coordinator no doubt helps to qualify me for this position – but mostly it’s my passion for sharing what I consider to be vital information.
I only mention this because it brings me back to why I started a blog on sustainability in the first place. In our information glutted environment and a world full of unlimited options, we are seduced into choosing the cheapest, fastest, easiest route – avoiding consideration of the cost down the road.
In relation to our environment, we are certainly at a crossroads and there are dire warning signs everywhere. But I firmly believe that we are in a renaissance. Re-building is an investment heavy period in any scenario. Why buy the silicone product over the vinyl product when the latter is equally functional and less expensive? You buy the non-toxic product for the future. Period.
Recently a friend told me that she and her husband must make a decision between natural gas or oil, lamenting that they can’t afford solar panels at this time – to which I responded, you don’t have to install solar panels or dig a geo-thermal well to take advantage of renewable energy! Choose a renewable energy company servicing your area and designate them as your energy source. If you don’t currently have a renewable energy company servicing your area, make the switch when you do. It won’t be long, trust me. It’s that straight forward. Will you pay a little more? Yes – at this moment anyway. But this is where we must weigh the investment down the line.
This brings us to investments and the future. I attended two powerful Climate events in the last month. The first was on Fossil Fuels Divestment. The panel was comprised of government council members, financial advisors and investment strategists. Nearly every panel speaker was really about the numbers. It was a great forum because the evening demonstrated that people who are nearly completely driven by the bottom line are also motivated and relieved when they can influence change for the better (environmentally speaking) and justify the portfolios to which they are responsible.
The second event was 350.org’s Off+On: The Climate Movement and the Road through Paris (Paris will be hosting the Global Climate Talks in December 2015). Climate activists and authors Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein were among the representation for the evening. The event included the “shock and awe” videos and stats we have come to expect at these happenings – but the takeaway was hopeful and empowering. I was most effected by the young climate activists that represented their colleges, communities and countries. The Maldives for instance, an island nation where the highest elevation measures 6 feet above sea level(!), and whose first democratically elected leader
and champion for environmental survival, Mohamed Nasheed, currently sits in jail as a result of a military coup. Thilmeeza Hussain, co-founder of Voice of Women and UN representative of the Maldives, translated their progressive Maldivian chant: forward, forward, faster – FORWARD!
350.org’s message is clear. First, we must keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground. And second, while we are watching world leaders and governments closely on their response and actions regarding climate change, we are going to move forward with or without them. My dear friend can move forward without signing on for natural gas lines in her neighborhood. My amazing Sister moved forward by building a rain barrel for her Huntington Beach, CA home. You can move forward by no longer introducing toxic products into your household. It really is that simple. Take a step. Make a change. Progress, without fail, initially represents itself in our visionary powers. I can’t afford a Tesla at the moment but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of my next car – which will be electric, I can promise you that!