It’s been a year since my last post – mostly because I’ve been all over the map promoting energy and environmental action. Something’s been nagging at me about this, and it’s only occurred to me lately what it is: People in my “industry” seem to have forgotten why we’re doing this. The sense of urgency that turned a fledgling gaggle of energy and environmental first adopters into a global industry of social entrepreneurs has lost its way. Lately, environmental and energy conservation action is “just business.”
This scares the crap out of me. Some days I want to flee to Walden and sharpen pencils by the wood stove. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no negative, anti-corporate crusader. Nope. I’m quite happy to follow in the wide wake of folks like Adam Werbach (former executive director of Sierra Club) who dared to declare environmentalism dead and then got into bed with WalMart.
The fact is, we need stuff like clever ads, plain language writing to get people to open their eyes. Simple things. Oh, and yes, giant retail partners. This is especially true now as traditional institutions and governments seem reluctant (in Canada) or unable (in DC) to wield policy tools to bring about change. Despite a growing sense of panic, I still believe that the future rests in the hands of nimble collaborative projects made up of civil society organizations like onechange.org, marketing firms, local governments and corporate partners. But if we can’t find ways to make these partnerships work, and fast, we’re all screwed.
So look yourself in the mirror and say these things a few times, out loud: We have a serious problem. Our survival as a species is at stake.
Do you really believe it?