Are You Hopeful or Worried on Earth Day?

Today marks the day we consider the health of the Earth. We all lead busy lives, so it is fitting that on this Earth Day we especially take some time to reflect on the human impacts of climate change. Those that closely follow climate change know that, depressingly, there is only a slim chance that we can reduce warming our planet enough to avert catastrophe for our children and theirs.  

Fortunately, there have been many recent events showing that more and more people are paying attention. By events, I don’t mean the wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, freezes, and other more frequent natural disasters. I mean the increasing divestiture of fossil fuel interests; the increased deployment of clean energy technologies including solar, wind, geothermal, and electric vehicles; the increased attention of better land management and the call for improvement of animal agriculture, including an end to factory farming; and among others, the increased attention to our oceans regarding the multiple crises of ocean acidification, pervasive overfishing and bottom trawling, and plastic pollution.

There are other promising signs that positive momentum is building. Look no further for the groundswell than from Greta Thunberg and the younger generations. Or the recent book and initiatives by Bill Gates. Or the recent private-partnerships of General Mills, Netflix, LinkedIn and other business leaders with the esteemed Project Drawdown organization. Perhaps most notable, is the absolute reversal of the US government, and its reengagement in climate-change mitigation, re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement, and – heralded just today – big targets announced in the Leaders Summit on Climate (Earth Day Live).

All well and good; yes, all well and good. What worries me is that, while these efforts are supremely admirable and absolutely necessary – finally “a start,” they won’t be enough to reverse the effects of physics and rising temperatures. The only thing that can counteract physics, is physics itself. That means not just a change in attitudes, but changes in business models and industrial policies that promote these hard changes; changes in international oversight and coercion for countries to meet their climate obligations; changes in the international treatment of women and girls, and of family planning; changes in taxation and penalties for every entity and every person that over-pollutes greenhouse gases, and incentives for those that don’t.

Do we have the will to meet these types of necessary changes? How will we do it? For example, do we abandon the employees and employers that are in the path of the storm, the fossil fuel companies, the animal agriculture companies, the fisheries, and others? Should we instead re-invest in their transition to clean and sustainable futures? Will we put teeth into the international agreements, with meaningful incentives and penalties? Will industry and business leaders embrace more efficient, clean, and sustainable futures that may contradict the capitalist model? Will individuals consider adopting plant-based diets, driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, and having fewer children?

These are the thoughts I have on Earth Day. I believe people and industry can realize the straits we’re in and that their changes will make a difference. And I believe governments can act together to encourage, invest, and enforce necessary changes towards a cooler planet. I am hopeful but I am concerned. We can do it! But will we.

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!

All of the Above


If you’re like me, every time you go inside a music store you want to play all the guitars. Even when I couldn’t play a chord, I still wanted to play them all!

When contemplating what we can do in the face of dramatic climate changes, there are numerous paths we individuals can take. In fact, knowing the seemingly impossible task of turning our Titanic of a civilization around with each of its depleting systems, and yet seeing the options before us and the headway of change already begun, leaves me feeling more energized and optimistic than ever. Seeing the beast before us, we can slay it! True, we are in an allegory of David and Goliath, but you know who wins that battle.

On the ground, other battles are being waged. Hurricane Irma has devastated the Caribbean and is beginning to unleash her fury on the U.S. as Floridians have evacuated in mass. All this while the full scope of tragedy has only recently taken shape with Hurricane Harvey leaving Houston literally submerged, with at least 70 fatalities and estimates of over $150 billion in damage. If there is any consolation, and there is not much, it’s that while old-school energy production was shut down or shuttered for days or weeks, renewable energy like wind kept on producing, albeit with some issues and under treacherous circumstances.

These storms make the clear case that a focus on resiliency is key. Resiliency is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned, and it begs for an “all of the above” energy strategy. By diversifying our energy supply while ultimately relying less and less on fossil fuels, provides us with the greatest security in cases of severe weather and other cataclysmic events such as war, earthquakes, and the like.

Where each of us can make a difference, is in a similar “all of the above” strategy when it comes to the many solutions available to sequester and reduce heat-trapping emissions. Individually, we just need to choose one or more areas where we feel the most passionate or where we can make the greatest impact. Then collectively and working in parallel, we can solve the climate crisis. The obvious benefit is in restoring the world’s environmental balance, and leaving a hopeful future for our children.

If you love cars, why not join the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) revolution in your area? Or if you’re a foodie, why not incorporate more plant-rich meals in your diet and learn about the plethora of ways to improve food supply and the reduction of waste? If you’re a mom or care about the health and welfare of women and girls, why not get involved in education programs that lay foundations for girls in underdeveloped areas to live happy fulfilled lives? The list of solutions truly goes on and on, and it’s all about finding the area where you can get involved.

In a world that is changing all around us like never before, creating a foreboding sense of uncertainty and anxiety, this list of Solutions from Project Drawdown is an exciting, provocative, and important remedy and resource that should inspire you and others to be part of the global warming solution. So why not consider today the area where you will make your biggest contributions?

Mother and daughter: Boys & Girls Village, Connecticut

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!