Our fearless leader (Dennis, not Dixon) often talks about how energized he feels after trips to California. The GlobalGiving team makes it out to the left coast fairly often due to many funding and partner relationships, and this week it was my turn to spend a few days in the Bay area.
Maybe it’s all this mid-February California sunshine getting to my head (such a welcome break from the icy east coast!), but I’ve found myself agreeing with Dennis on the California vibe-full of energy, optimism, inspiration, and a sense of what’s possible.
I’m here in San Francisco attending the Carbon Forum America conference-one of the largest gatherings in North America related to climate change and carbon markets. You don’t have to be Al Gore to know that climate change is one of the largest and most serious problems facing society today, and without a similarly large and serious response to turn this ship around we could find ourselves in a heap of trouble.
But when faced with such a daunting threat looming over our shoulders, how can any one of us know what to do, or if any actions we could take will have an effect on such a huge problem? Can CFL light bulbs, driving a Prius, purchasing carbon offsets, or calling Congress actually dig us out of this global warming hole we find ourselves in?
I stayed with a good friend in Berkeley on Sunday night before the conference and I asked him about what it was like living there. “It makes it easy – to ride my bike, buy local food, carpool to work, or use alternative energy sources – because these things are available and supported by the community.”
And while GlobalGiving isn’t exactly available at your local farmer’s market, I connected his point to the work we’re doing with supporting international projects. By making solutions available, and easy to find and support, it can drive people to take action that they might not otherwise feel empowered or inspired to take.
Although the prospect of climate change is scary, a speaker today pointed out that one benefit of needing to address climate change is the power to force new levels of cooperation between people across national or international boundaries. And finding these collective solutions will drive new levels of business creativity, entrepreneurship, problem solving, and empathy.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers about the climate change monkey on our back, but I am excited that-like health care, education, technology, and women’s rights - it is a global issue that uniquely impacts developing countries, and GlobalGiving is hoping to provide donors with even more impactful ways of addressing climate change in the coming months. By providing climate change solutions that our community can support, we just might uncover some powerful new strategies for change.