Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Between Commitments and Fulfillments


About 3 years ago representatives from a climate change activist organization visited our office and added to our knowledge and understanding of global warming, and what steps they take to prevent governments and corporations from making decisions that harm the environment. Having had an opportunity to interact with the representatives and the list of their green achievements, several people including myself registered with them and rendered our support. I have been receiving their newsletters and specific campaigning requests from them from time to time. Emotionally charged after watching films like "Battle in Seattle," I too felt good that I a supporting a good cause.

Recently one of their campaigns was directed towards a particular wireless telecom operator asking them to use alternate fuel to support the operation of their mobile towers. I have been working closely with wireless network firms in both domestic and international markets since quite some time, I personally felt (I still do) that asking only one operator to switch their mode of power supply while there are several others of similar size, reach, customer base and profitability. Instead of simply signing up the campaign I wrote a reply to my friend who forwarded the mail to me, asking for an opinion and details. Not being convinced (still) about the logical reason for that particular campaign, I did not make my contribution.

Before I promise my support for their future campaigns, I started searching for logic in the way they choose and target their campaigns. Sadly, I did not find any campaigns in this organization's website that is targeted towards me - the end user - to change the way I consume energy, or methods/ideas that can help me save my dependency on fossil fuels. From then on, I started ignoring their campaigns. The purpose of this story was not to point out the incompetency of a particular organization, but to highlight the power of the individual user/customer to choose products and services that reduce our carbon footprint.

Change needs to happen in the way we (individuals) look at products/services/habits. If I choose to buy/use a certain product over a conventional one, which would help me reduce my carbon footprint, any provider would be happy to stock that particular product/brand so long as I keep buying it from him.  Imagine how positive the impact would be if each one of us start choosing eco-friendly products! Doesn't it make sense to us if we start changing our own consumption patterns (and thereby driving the market to transition) instead of campaigning against some service provider to change their products? I found logic in changing myself for good and influencing my service providers to change because I have.

Therefore, instead of bullying organizations or governments to enforce/transform their products/services/policies, we the individual can change the way we buy/consume/operate products or services. In market driven economies this could change consumption patterns of people at large forcing organizations to expand/transform their offerings. Since the change is driven by the customer, organizations would be happy to adopt, no matter even if the Durban talks failed to develop a measurable framework for reducing emissions.

More on Greenomics to follow.

Image courtesy: healthyhug.com