The Three C’s for Climate Change a.k.a the Haters’ Guide to Earth Day

Have you had the conversation with your parents yet? Sure, it seems awkward at first. But, like sex or drugs, it simply has to be addressed. Here’s how it happened for me, sans my ineffective impatience:

MOM: “It’s been almost 18 years now. It’s time for a change.”

DAD: “And I know a guy, a great guy, he runs an old shop. He can get a really good deal.”

ME: “Mom…dad…I’m glad you brought this up. It’s time we had the talk. You’ve supported me throughout my entire life. I’m not perfect, but what good qualities I do have I attribute to you. As I near grandchild-bearing age, though, we need to address the elephant in the room. It’s time we talk about the future. It’s time we talk about your retirement. It’s time we talk about you buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car.”

MOM: “Oh, yes, that’s interesting. I did research a bit. But is it safe? I just love my Subaru mid-sized SUV. It has everything I need, not too many bells and whistles.”

DAD: “For the price of one electric, we could get 3 of my old used cars which, like I said, are in excellent condition. I just like that classic feel.”

ME: “You’d be amazed at the advances in safety and space. Even so, the time is now. Think of the money you’d save and the impact you could have!”

DAD: “Absolutely, sure, of course…we get it. We’ll try to look into it. Maybe next year?”

Your parents or grandparents saw Glenngarry Glen Ross. They’ll get this.

If you haven’t had this talk, do it. I’m still working on the sell. This article? A not-so-subtle ploy to hammer it home.

If you do have the talk, this will be the first step of the new “3 C’s” we desperately need to complement the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle). This new acronym is better suited for today’s America: market-driven, stress-relieving, and community-focused. We need to: Convince, Channel, and Create.

So, as with my parents, the first step is to convince others, especially our retiring parents, to purchase environmentally responsible products. This may require you, yourself to act as an example. If we don’t, we’ll end up tired, stressed, and jobless.

Let me explain.

Inspiration for the 3 C’s

David Roberts glided through what might be called a Silicon Valley version of Al Gores’ Inconvenient Truth (not in a bad way) recently at Singularity University’s Global Impact Challenge. I was invited as a finalist to pitch IFA’s vision for how we could positively impact a billion people through our platform by reducing climate change. His speech was a welcome respite from chugging La Croix and trying to calm my nerves before the pitches began.

His cautiously optimistic prognosis of climate change promoted the idea that exponential technology is the paradoxical reason for — and only hope to end — climate change. It is our own success via engines, extraction, and globalization that has resulted in global warming. The Great Barrier Reef will be gone in 10 years. Coastal cities could be consumed by the sea. Food will become scarce. Tech can solve this.

Yes. And.

What is the engine of success itself? After Earth Day 2017 and two science marches it is helpful to seriously talk about the demand side of the success equation. It’s time to ask: when will you and I, individually, finally bear responsibility for what we purchase and how we act? Pause for a moment from EPA, coal, or plastics policy debates. Look in the mirror.

What’s an easy way to do this, you ask? The three Cs!

That brings us to the second of the three C’s, Channel.

Channel: a.k.a Anger Management to Save the Planet

America is worried and sleep deprived post Earth Day. Forty-five percent us worry a great deal about global warming, a three decade high. Meanwhile, forty percent of us don’t get the recommended level of sleep. We’ve got lots to worry about, not to mentioned the polarized political climate. There’s a lot of haters out there. If you or someone you know raged a bit too much on the road this week, posted angrily on social media, or simply don’t believe in climate change and government mandated environmental holidays, this one’s for you.

Gallup, 2017

Channel that worry and sleepless rage. Not on social media. In the real world.

Take “hipsters.” Don’t like ’em? Instead of snapping photos in Williamsburg and posting to social media, or buying coffee table books about how they co-opted their parent’s style, eat so much of their locally-grown, organic kale it’s no longer a fad through Agrilicious. Or, even more sinister, take away the newest environmental trend before it happens like gobbling up kelp or seaweed snacks.

Think bankers tanked the economy? Take your money away from them and re-invest in environmentally responsible companies. Start investing using Motif and Grow.

Tired of junk mail? Stop the faucet of tree-wasting, recycling-bin-clogging ads. Talk to Eco-cycle.

Doesn’t that feel better? Now, let’s talk about the third C, Create.

Create: a.k.a The Real Jobs Plan for America

Businesses don’t just create themselves. We do. Any startup will search and exploit markets. Why not give them something to exploit that matters: your concern for the environment. Let’s create environmentally sound markets. Turn your channeled energy into a habit over time.

Exploit these markets!

Younger, productive, and mindful people of the future, i.e. the “millenials,” are more concerned, and less impressed than ever with the social good of business. This is a good thing. It takes a maximum of 15 seconds Googling to realize “66% of global respondents [from a Nielsen study] say they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact, up from 55% in 2014, and 50% in 2013.”

Let’s follow their lead. Try purchasing 1 awesome eco-friendly innovation per week. Set a reminder for yourself right now. Check out Indie Go Go. Find a campaign through groups like Color of Change or Grab Your Wallet that fight for responsible, transparent corporations.

Whether you’re frustrated with failing government leadership or would like to streamline government involvement regarding the environment, the bottom line is we can and should vote with our wallet. It’s the most American thing Americans can do. Keep channeling overtime to create sustainable markets.

Which brings me to the true purpose of this article: convincing my parents to buy an electric or plugin hybrid vehicle.

Not everyone can purchase an EV and regressive subsidies tend to help people who can afford EVs in the first place, ironically giving them additional subsidies. The infrastructure isn’t quite there yet in a lot of places. However, if you’ve got a garage and drive less than 50 miles round trip in a day, it’s an amazing opportunity. The 2017 Chevy Volt is more affordable than a standard 2017 Ford Taurus after tax credits. Plug-in hybrids, or at least hybrids, are an easy transition too.

In high school, I drove the sweetest hunter green 1992 Jeep Cherokee with tinted windows. I played baseball. I hauled things. I felt cool. It quickly broke down — definitely my own fault.

I’m happy it did. In college, I decided upon a simple replacement rule: 30 mpg or above from then on. My next car, a Honda Civic, got 33 mpg. I saved an average of $20 a month more than my friends. I sold it as gas prices started to rise at an amazing price, almost 40% higher value than SUVs.

Recently my fiancé and I bought our first car after riding public transit for 8 years. We didn’t think twice about buying a used hybrid. We get 54 mpg and laugh, literally, all the way to the bank.

This is not meant to be a holier than thou anecdote. To be very clear, I fail implementing the 3 C’s all the time. However, at least in this small way, I had a framework for decision making. I defined a non-negotiable factor.

The 3 C’s are a similar framework and they give back even more than the 3 R’s. We get to relieve our stress. We get to support jobs creation. We get to convince others and build a community.

At IFA, we envision a world in which change is seamless and unbiased — we’re already connecting everyday people to ways to contribute to their community through groups like the Metro United Way in Louisville. We can also take action with our economic power. Next time you read about environmental destruction or government failures, take action in your community and with your dollars. Sure, we may have missteps like Selina Myer’s green jobs plan, however we have to at least try.

Try the 3 C’s as a happy medium. It may end up being something you and your loving parents get behind.

Selina Myer chose to purchase cornstarch utensils for all federal agencies. The technology has progressed since then. She needs even more stress relief. The 3Cs can help.

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