Archive for July, 2008
As a high school student, Mohammed Bah Abba was deeply concerned by a number of issues that plagued his rural community in northern Nigeria where many of his people eked out their living sustenance farming. In his region ninety percent of all villages are without electricity. Without electricity there is no means to refrigerate the crops they harvest. Without adequate cold storage, fruits and vegetables spoil quickly resulting in loss of income and health risks.
Though Mohammed Bah Abba would continue to further his education, eventually going on to become a lecturer at a polytechnic college and a consultant for the United Nations, he drew on his experience growing up in a family of potters to help solve the farmer’s dilemma. Applying the knowledge he gained through his studies to ancient techniques, Mohammed used two earthen pots, sand, and water to create a portable cold storage container that requires no electricity.
Over the past few days I have been thinking about a recent conversation with a close friend. My friend and I share a common thread. We are both married, have children very close to the same age, and are both in the Information Technology (IT) industry. The only real difference is that my (primary) job is in government contracting and he works in the financial industry.
My friend has become somewhat concerned as of late due to the recent events in the savings and loan institution. The events will ultimately impact his organization and he has a fear that a lay off is looming just over the horizon. In reaction to his fears, he has started to consider selling everything he owns, purchasing a boat large enough for he and his family, turning the remaining cash into precious metals, and sailing off into the sunset.
cleantech: noun, [pronounced: kleen-tek] 1. any technology that is environmentally friendlier than a comparable existing technology; also called green technology, example: solar power.
So you’re living the green lifestyle – generating your own power using solar panels, commuting by bicycle, bringing your own bags with you when you shop – but are you investing for the future? You likely are taking steps to ensure a comfortable retirement for yourself by investing your money in stocks or mutual funds. But are your investments as environmentally conscious as you?
Being an avid hiker and cyclist, my interest in protecting the environment started simply as an extension of my hobbies. Working to protect green spaces was in my best interest as it meant my friends and I would have more places to enjoy the outdoors. It wasn’t until I was married and had children that I realized my efforts were only slowing down the superficial damage that was being done and not addressing the deeper issues were the real destruction was taking place.
If you’re like me (and if you’re reading this, I suspect you are), you likely are not content with the typical nine-to-five workplace and/or are seeking for a way to connect your passions for green and natural living to a paycheck. Let’s face it: most people are tired fed up with the rat race – too much florescent lighting, box-like office spaces, endless background noises, and meaningless progression.
In considering a change of situation you really have two of options: find a job that fits you or, if you are the innovative type, you can make your own. While upstarting your own business may allow you to stay truer to your ideals, there is a growing list of companies doing great things in the name of all things green and natural.
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, did not set out to change the world – only to live in it. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Chouinard started a home-based business back in the 60s merely to sustain his passion for climbing.
In a previous article I wrote about how Chouinard was able to grow his business from hocking climbing equipment out of the trunk of his car to a multi-million dollar a year company while never forsaking his love for the natural world around him.