Global Climate Strike: What Is Your Tech Company's Sustainability Plan?
By Laura Cowan
Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech, and conscious living media outlets.
Young protestors on Ingalls Mall in front of Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor hold signs for the Global Climate Strike, a youth-led global movement to advocate for climate change mitigation and climate justice for the next generation.
Ten years ago, this editor was writing about climate change and green technology that could make a difference through Inhabitat, the web's largest green design blog. It did help get the word out with millions of monthly subscribers. We Cronicle founders even got to drive Elon Musk's personal first-gen all-electric Tesla Roadster for a test drive before the company had a test fleet. Seems like ages ago now, and it kind of was. Burnout is common among people working on climate change or other urgent global issues, and it wasn't easy watching one deadline after another to stop climate change pass while the world was actually accelerating in the wrong direction.
Local band The Left Lanes who attended Pioneer High School support local youth in protesting climate change with a concert that kicked off talks, poetry readings, and information on how people can help with climate change advocacy and climate justice.
Today was a new milestone. The youth-led Global Climate Strike took place this morning around the world, including an event in Ann Arbor starting at 11 am EDT on the University of Michigan campus by Rackham Auditorium, which we attended to lend our personal support to the long overdue movement. Ingalls Mall was full of people young and old with protest signs, political advocacy booths, and talks about how people can get involved in climate justice from Solar Ypsi, The Michigan Student Power Network, Poor People's Campaign, Native American Student Association, the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the DNC, Democratic Socialists of America, Architectural Resource, and the Sunrise Movement. It was inspiring just to see the fruit of years of many people's hard work, and to see the word get out while we still have time to stop climate collapse, however ceremonial a simple protest might be.
Crowds begin to gather for the kick-off concert of the Global Climate Strike protest event on the University of Michigan campus. The crowd quickly grew from hundreds to thousands.
The thing is, along the way, the primary lesson this journalist learned was that we in the media were putting too much pressure on the individual to make a difference through their own choices like recycling, eating organic, locally produced or humanely raised food, and choosing sustainable energy sources where possible or getting involved politically to promote climate justice and to preserve nature for the next generation. These choices and more still make a powerful difference, but the climate crisis is now so urgent it is becoming more and more apparent that technology being leveraged for infrastructure change is what is going to make the biggest dent in pollution, reducing vehicle emissions, and other major contributors to climate change.
People young and old came together to protest climate change in Ann Arbor on September 20 for the Global Climate Strike. Youngest protestor we saw was in a stroller. Oldest had a cane. Nice to see different age groups at this youth-led event.
That's why we at Cronicle love to highlight tech that's making a difference in the world, not only helping with climate change but also those of you founders working to use tech to cure cancer, make a social impact in your communities, and create social equity along with success in the tech industry. The time is already here when a sustainability plan is more than a neat PR talking point: it's essential in building the groundwork for a responsible company that makes a difference. We'd love to talk to even more of you who are working to make the world a more sustainable place, whatever that means to you, or who are bringing tech founders together to create new opportunities to give back and create a more sustainable world.
Today for the Global Climate Strike, reach out to us and let us know what your startup is doing to help with climate change or to make the world a little bit easier on the next generation, and we'll feature your work in an upcoming series on tech and sustainability. Thanks for what you do, whether you're in the green tech space or just writing code for that app that makes a difference in the world. Peace.