With the holidays behind us, we figured it was a good time to skip the lists and bullet points in favor of sneaking in a quick eco-rant given this time of year is the penultimate time for reflection, resolutions, and generally spirited conversation.
We are just returning from some time in the Midwest seeing family on Lake Michigan and, for the second straight year, there was no snow on the ground at Christmas. This year even trumped last year by ten degrees to reach the mid-50's. In case you aren't familiar with the region, we can maybe recall a year or two at most since we were born where we didn't have a "White Christmas" (this is a non-denominational statement in this context).
Similarly, over the last decade or two the water on the lake in the summer has receded to the point most people have had to double the length of their dock. In the case of our grandparents, they hadn't built an add-on to their dock in over 50 years.
As I'm sure you can tell, we're big believers that Climate Change is real. How real is obviously up for debate, but does it really matter where it falls on the spectrum?
Unless you don't believe in it at all (in which case please leave comments below and we will send you numerous links), think about whether the magnitude of the issue matters because, we would argue that either way it implores us to be mindful towards change.
Layer on an exploding population (which is leading to unprecedented levels of mass consumption), species going extinct at record rates and the finite size of the planet we currently inhabit and you have a scary Molotov cocktail if things don't change (Thomas Friedman, author of Hot, Flat & Crowded summed it up better than we ever could).
If you're reading this with your entrepreneurial hat on, we guess the obvious question is: does "being green" matter to my business or my customers? The honest answer is that it's hard to say. Our hope is that soon we will live in a world where we don't revere brands who build CSR (corporate & social responsibility) into their DNA, but rather shame only those brands who do not. In other words, flip the paradigm where the "norm" is having a sustainable enterprise (rather than the "exception"). In all fairness, this may or may not happen.
We think many consumers still wonder 'what can green do for me?' which translated means demonstrating that CFL light bulbs are a better value over time, eco-detergents work just as well or better than the regular stuff, and organic foods are healthier. That aside, we think that brands like our friends at TOMS Shoes, Pressed Juicery and Back to the Roots that are genuine in their efforts establish a real emotional connection to their customers that endures and leads to evangelism.
In closing, we wanted to touch on legacy. We realize it's not always easy and certainly not convenient to be eco, but as entrepreneurs we know most BHAG's (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) aren't. We think Gen X/Y/Millennials are at a historic crossroads: people will either look back and applaud our legacy or we'll likely be the last ones to have had a chance to effect change, but did not. Seems only fitting with Star Wars mania in full bloom to quote Master Yoda: "Do or do not, there is no try. The choice is yours."