A plea for grown-up climate action

A plea for grown-up climate action

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Today, thousands of children in more than 100 countries are on strike to protest inaction on climate change by the rest of us. They are striking from school because they have no other leverage. They demand we act on climate change.

I fully support the climate strike. But I’m crossing the climate strike picket line today and every day thereafter to get to work on tackling climate change.

As the adults here, we’re clearly past the point of handing this off to the next generation to fix. Anyone reading this has the only meaningful reach left.

Every single day of inadequate or delayed response has exponential repercussions. Our inaction worsens consequences for these kids. In a sinister turn of a phrase, Alex Steffen aptly refers to this as predatory delay.

The solution: Decarbonize how we live now. And we know what we need to do — how to decarbonize our transportation and buildings, the way we make and use products, grow forests and produce food, and power our homes and devices. All of this is needed and more.

In the face of overwhelming all-of-the-above options, one has to focus. Having worked on climate solutions in other areas, massively decarbonizing electricity is what I’d like to do next. Coming from the tech world, I’m fascinated by what’s behind the outlet, by what powers our iPhones and iClouds. By how earthbound our digital shells are, despite our ongoing efforts to virtualize everything. 

I’ve spoken with people in both the energy and technology industries, from utilities and disruptive startups, to investors and established tech and consumer brands. These are formidable players who could truly move the needle.

I’ve talked with energy industry companies about how they could leverage both tech innovation and tech-style customer engagement to bolster their role in the clean energy revolution. With tech players, I’ve advanced the idea that renewable energy needs to be something they enable for their customers, not just how they power themselves.

But industry convergence isn’t always obvious until it happens. In the meantime, so many people like me, with diverse skills and experience, want to get in the game and make a difference. It will take all of us.

Who will lead? Each sector needs those who will charge ahead now, individually and collectively. To propel shift to renewables, will it be Amazon or IKEA, Google or LG, or someone else?

If just a few companies at this scale committed to next-generation climate solutions today, while expanding the playing field for those who would step onto it, they’d catalyze momentum needed to decarbonize this decade. Let’s get to work on this so children can put down their signs and get back to class.

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