In this post, we read, listen, act, and reflect on May's topic: corporations and sustainability. This article has been adapted from our sustainability newsletter, so please sign up for it to stay in the loop.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
Corporations waste a lot because it keeps costs low (for them). If you're feeling a little stir-crazy, I'm right here to talk trash about these companies with you!
I'm focusing on greenhouse gases (GHGs) and plastic, because reducing GHGs is so key to fighting climate change and minimizing plastic can offset irreversible damage to humans and animals.
Greenhouse gas emissions (click me to learn more)
Plastic waste (read me if you can't get enough)
Seriously, if you haven't seen #SGN by John Krasinski yet (Jim from The Office), watch it. My favorite episode has the Hamilton cast joining in as a surprise.
Here are the top three things that make me optimistic about our systemic change battle:
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
Today, I'm sharing a brilliant YouTube video called "The Story of Bottled Water." It's by The Story of Stuff Project. Click the thumbnail to watch!
I LOVE this video because it's well-narrated, has super fun animations, AND includes actions you can take at the end that go beyond only drinking tap water. I really, really love the simple explanation on how corporations play us, using bottled water as an example.
Here are five highlights:
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
I've assembled THREE ways you can make a difference via the corporate route - I mean this whether or not you actually work for a corporation.
I've ordered these changes from easy to hard and you can do them whether you work for yourself or whether, like me, you consult for a 500,000 person organization!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
School might be out, but I've got a report card for you! WIRED put together a report of which company has the greenest cloud.
Q: Why is this important?
A: When your data gets stored on the cloud, it doesn't just evaporate. It lives in physical data centers. "According to the Department of Energy, data centers account for about 2 percent of all electricity use in the US." It's a big chunk!
Q: What makes a cloud green?
A: Algae water. Just kidding. "The efficiency of a data center's infrastructure (lights, cooling, and so on), the efficiency of its servers, and the source of its electricity" are three metrics to assess how "green" a cloud is.
Q: What's the good news???
A: In 2017, Google announced "it achieved 100 percent renewable energy across all of its operations, including its data centers"! Microsoft has increased its renewable energy portfolio by ~60% over the past year!
Q: What's the bad news?
A: Well, Amazon. (They got an "F" for transparency on their report card.) Also, Google and Microsoft are BOTH courting the fossil fuel industry. Do they know they... don't need to do that?
Retweet by clicking on the post below.
That's a wrap! My final action tip: do your best to "divest" from Amazon - whether that's convincing your employer to stop using AWS, canceling your Prime membership (which I ashamedly still must do), not shopping at Whole Foods, or simply ordering less from Amazon - it goes a long way for the environment, for being an anti-racist ally, and for justice.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
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