Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Like many human beings I read the news around the latest IPCC report with horror and great sadness. The findings in the report show that climate breakdown is happening faster than expected and that the window to take action is closing fast. It generated some alarm here and there, and a few big proclamations from some global leaders. But here’s the deal - we’re not going to make it. We’re past the point of no return and we won’t escape unscathed.
If current world events tell us anything, it’s that our addiction to fossil fuels runs so deep that we’re prepared to fund a tyrant’s war machine so that he can commit war crimes in Ukraine. Indeed, since the Russian invasion started, there have been calls to increase fossil fuel production. So at a time when virtually no sane mind denies climate change and its human-caused effects, the first instinct of many people is to source and burn more hydrocarbons, as opposed to double down on the creation of a clean, resilient and secure energy system using existing technology. That’s where we’re at, and there’s no denying it.
I’ve been in clean tech for 12 years both for profit and not for profit. In that time, I’ve seen countless people say no. I’ve seen foundations say no to funding microgrids to help people out of energy poverty. I’ve seen homeowners say no because their particular roof meant their solar costs would be the same as what they’re paying now. I’ve seen former colleagues from silicon valley refuse to engage, despite the fact that their immense intellects and resources could be a gamechanger for the planet. But to quote one of the people I admire most in this world, Alec Guettel, I won’t be the guy that didn’t try.
I still believe that we can be carbon neutral in our lifetime, and I’m going to commit the rest of my life to that outcome. We all have to decide what we’re going to do, and no, taking out the recycling once a week is not enough. Personally I will channel my energy into Empowered by Light and into OpenSolar. Both organizations are based on the firm belief that when you give people the tools to power their lives and their customers’ lives with sunshine, when you make it easy for people to live low carbon lives, they’ll not only do it, but they’ll be energized and spread the word.
I owe it to my beautiful family to try. I owe it to the earth that gave me life. We all do.