Unfortunately, I have limited faith in our government to provide adequate resources and strong leadership in the consistent, long-term and effective manner that we need desperately to curtail climate change and other detrimental impacts (such as biodiversity, habitat and natural resource depletion). As we have seen from the fraud that VW and other automobile manufacturers committed to cheat on meeting emission requirements for their diesel vehicles, the government is not always effective at enforcing regulations.
That is the current background against which the U.S. now faces possible reversals of important policies that address the threat of climate change-the Climate Action Plan and Paris Accords, for example - under President-elect Trump's administration.
The government has not always led the way on important issues. More often than not, people, communities, and organizations lead the charge on important issues while the politicians follow suit when the groundswell of change becomes inevitable.
When it comes to protecting our planet, while I encourage each of us to demand leadership from our government, we must take actions individually, which can have a meaningful impact on our own. What can we do? Demand action from companies that contribute to climate change, excess waste or pollution, and negatively impact the environment in other ways. And we don't need to go through the government!
Companies care about their customers' opinions (as well as their critics). If enough of us insist that they operate more responsibly - ethically or environmentally - the companies are likely to listen. If we call them out on specific areas of waste, inefficiency or pollution, they may change their behavior. We have seen such trends with voluntary environmental, climate change and ethical reporting through such programs as the Global Reporting Initiatives and Carbon Disclosure Project. As with any movement to foment change, participants need to speak with a strong voice. A few individual complaints aren't likely to elicit more than a weak excuse as to why they can't do more. If enough of us encourage companies to act more responsibly, they may begin to do so.
With this in mind, I am going to dedicate more space in my newsletters - including my second article this quarter - to empowering and encouraging you to take direct action on matters close to your heart and home. I call it my "Take it Personally" campaign. Make these issues personal by taking responsibility to act on behalf of all of us to demand more from the companies you support and the organizations in your communities. I hope you will join me!