April 22, 2020
Amidst the backdrop of COVID-19, social-distancing, and the daily news cycles, I have found that keeping things in perspective is more important now than ever. My personal journey from the tech industry to improving the efficiency of the built environment continues to be one of the most meaningful decisions of my life – and one that I’m thankful for each day. Being able to contribute to the global transition toward clean energy, quantify that impact, and repeat it at scale, is incredibly fulfilling.
As of last count, Hatch Data’s software has enabled our customers to avoid nearly 500,000 tons of CO2e — roughly the equivalent of removing 81,000 homes from the grid. This was made possible by the tremendous work from our team, our customers, and our partners, whose passion and commitment to bettering our world is a regular source of inspiration.
It’s important to remember that were it not for Earth Day in 1970, our company, and thousands of other mission-driven companies, might not have been created.
It’s been more than 50 years since the moon landing provided us with a new perspective on our home planet, its uniqueness, and its fragility. Looking back, across the expanse of space, this view of earth’s finite nature was a pivotal reminder at a time when the byproducts and pollution from technology and engineering progress had largely gone unchecked. In the years that followed, public awareness and interest in environmental issues steadily rose following a tragic oil spill, industrial accidents and newly published works, most notably Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. By channeling the energy and activism from the student anti-war movement, the first Earth Day was organized and held with rare support from all parties, walks of life, and communities across the country. The resulting public pressure led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the landmark legislation for the protection of clean air, water, and endangered species. It was an incredible achievement.
In the decades that have passed, this movement expanded from local to global. As information technology and globalization changed the face of industry, environmental regulations were augmented by corporate social responsibility initiatives, environmental and social governance programs (ESG), and other voluntary actions by businesses. These approaches seek to incorporate externalities (e.g., CO2 emissions) into business decision-making and investment processes to ensure optimal outcomes for the triple bottom-line. In response, a wide range of new companies, like ours, were created to support these corporate programs and help speed their success. While not a substitute for a sustained global commitment from all countries, this patchwork of independent activities, with oversight from NGOs, continues to make a very real impact.
As the original Earth Day showed us, a few individuals with passion and focus can enlist others to the cause and truly change the world for the better.
As videos of animals retaking urban centers or photos of clear skies in formerly polluted areas pop up across your social feeds, we should remember that this is only temporary. As we recover and adapt in response to the global pandemic, let us each seize this opportunity to improve upon the status quo to enable lasting change. Whether through your work, personal activism, or volunteering, we can each do our part to strengthen our communities and better our world.
Especially while we remain on lock-down, the adage to think global and act local has never rung truer. Next time you head out for a walk or exercise, consider bringing a bag to collect any garbage you see along the way. It can also be a fun family event or virtual team event if you make it into a scavenger hunt. Any other tips or suggestions on observing Earth Day this year? I’d love to hear.