Since Wednesday, January 27, 2021 was named “Climate Day” by the Biden administration, I thought I’d take a moment to articulate my feelings at this pivotal, historic moment. Having worked in the environmental and clean energy industry for over a decade, I’m feeling very excited and a bit overwhelmed.
Like many climate change curious (and concerned) young people, I initially intended to be an environmental scientist. I quickly learned that my time and talents would be much more impactful if I focused my efforts on environmental communications. From translating scientific academic journals to writing reports to working with the media, I have so enjoyed reading, discussing, and educating people on clean energy, environmental justice, cleantech, and climate change in general.
At this moment, I reflect back on the last decade of my career and the industry’s work so far as foundational — a stepping stone, the primary education to get us all to this point. While I’d have loved for the government and industry to have moved faster, I’ve learned that changing the course of an ocean liner takes continuous effort and patience.
As overall climate change awareness increases, renewable energy costs decline, and the Biden administration prepares to implement his latest climate executive orders, we must take advantage of this moment as an industry. Many of us longtime environmental and clean energy industry professionals are used to being told to do whatever we can with little to no money or support. We got creative and collaborated the best we could.
Now is the time for us to think big and ask ourselves — What do we want to do with resources? What should be our most immediate goals? Yes, solving climate change is still the general answer, but I encourage you to be ready because support to achieve that goal might not be as far away as it once was.
If you received an email from MacKenzie Scott tomorrow with a $10M donation attached, would you be ready? We have been preparing for this moment at Clean Energy Trust since our founding in 2010.
We are focused on providing hands-on support to help climate entrepreneurs scale and succeed. We understand that most of the impactful climate technologies needed are not commercially available today, so we work to bridge the gap between innovation and the traditional sources of high-risk financing by making early-stage investments in cleantech businesses.
As a nonprofit, or for-impact organization, we make seed investments on a rolling basis through our revolving 501vc® Seed Fund, which is capitalized by corporate and philanthropic contributions.
Historically, global philanthropic funding dedicated to climate change mitigation has been very, very small. But, we see this changing. Like corporations increasingly making climate commitments, philanthropies are also taking notice and allocating funds toward solving the climate crisis.
Many others — venture capitalists, high net worth individuals, and more — are also beginning to realize the giant positive impact they can make. With the right resources, solving our climate crisis no longer needs to be seen as a Sisyphean task. I welcome you all to help, support, and expedite the energy transition that will help us all to literally change our world. I look forward to the next decade of my career in this ever-evolving industry and encourage you to join in cleantech or clean energy in any way you can — Climate Day can be every day for you too!