DAD of a SCIENCE WHIZ
From Sugar Plum to Scientist
Airplanes, Motivational Speakers and Carbon Offsets: Who says a Motivational Speaker Can’t Think about Really Cool Stuff?
My youngest daughter is a scientist. Wow, just writing that sentence gives me a cool feeling inside. My extended family is quite smart and thick with degrees. BAs, Masters degrees, PhDs, JDs, you name it, there is someone in our family who seems to have a degree in it. However, most of these degrees are in the area of liberal arts and social sciences—like education, sociology, anthropology, areas of study that are on the arts side of the Arts and Sciences equation. Then there’s Paige. She’s always been interested in Chemistry, Biology, Physics—you know, those hard-core science subjects that make English or Poly Sci majors quake in their boots. She’s an outlier in our family and it makes me proud.
Paige, the Science Whiz in my Family
She’s in college now and is interested in climate science. In case you don’t know (and really, how could you not know?), we of the older generations have been lax in our stewardship of the environment. We’ve literally trashed the place, and are now leaving it to the younger generations to clean it up. Luckily, the younger generation is smart and motivated. They want to live in a world that is habitable, not filled with plastic pollution, and actually has clean air and water. Moreover, they want to rein in climate change, and because they’re so smart, they actually have a chance to do it, especially if everybody gets with the program.
Dad, What are You Doing About Your Carbon Footprint?
My kid gives me a kick in the butt to get with the program. “Dad, what are you doing about your carbon footprint?”
Not much,” I say back, because mostly as a motivational keynote speaker who speaks about emotional and social support, I don’t really think a whole lot about my carbon footprint, which of course, is not a great excuse, and is an especially bad excuse when talking to a Gen Z-er.
“Well, you fly a lot for your job,” she says. “So you should probably try to reduce your trips or buy some carbon offsets.”
“Carbon what?” I say.
She rolls her eyes. “You know, carbon offsets. Meaning when you put carbon emissions in the air from flying or using your car, you offload some carbon from the atmosphere, either by buying an offset credit or otherwise reducing your carbon footprint. The idea is to take more carbon out than you put in.”
“Good idea, sugar plum,” I say. “Why don’t you research that and tell me what to do.”
She’s nice, so she doesn’t kneecap me for calling her sugar plum, even though she wants to. She also doesn’t kneecap me for offloading the research onto her because she knows I am a master of delegation. Plus, I’m putting her through college. So she agrees to do a little digging into the subject to see how I can reduce my greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, either on my own, or by investing in reducing carbon emissions elsewhere.
Paige made her case pretty convincingly in my mind. This is part of her e-mail to me about it. (And yes, the lower case sign-off is hers. It takes too much effort apparently for a Gen-Zer to hold down the shift key.)
Here is the promised research about how to make airplane travel more sustainable.
I am going off of said article: Should you buy Carbon Offsets for your Air travel? I think these action plans are your best bet. It is Direct Air Capture, which basically is a technology that takes carbon from the air and turns it into solid carbon and deposits it below the ground. This is more sustainable than planting trees ironically because there is not enough space for all the trees that we need and not enough time. This one is based in Switzerland and is linked in above article. Furthermore, it works as a subscription so you don’t have to think about your airline travel each time. So. This one is kinda expensive, however, it is transparent and permanent and the most expensive option is no where near what you actually emit each time you take a flight (best estimates are that per hour of flight, you emit from 90-250 kg of carbon, and the most expensive option per month removes 100 kg).
Okay those are the thoughts.
(Pooch is her family nickname. Not sure where it came from. I’m Pops, her mother is Mooch, sister is Claire-ici, brother is Benjitoodles. I’m an equal opportunity embarrass-er.)
Climate Change and the Younger Generation
She also said that the average emissions per flight from Denver to most places in the continental US is about 250kg of carbon. So each way your average emissions per trip is going to be 500kg. That’s a lot of carbon for giant machines to suck out of the air. And that’s what Climeworks is all about. Climeworks is a Swiss company that is literally sucking carbon out of the air with a giant machine and turning it into carbon rocks to bury deep underground. Amazing. Here’s a Ted Talk about Massive machines removing Carbon from Earth’s atmosphere.
The idea is simple, really. And yet so complicated. According to Climeworks, to restrain global warming, we know we need to drastically reduce pollution. The very next step after that: using both natural and technological solutions to trap as much excess carbon dioxide from the air as possible. Enter Orca, the world’s first large-scale direct air capture and storage plant, built in Iceland by the team at Climeworks, led by climate entrepreneur Jan Wurzbacher. This plant is capable of removing 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year. With affordability and scalability in mind, Wurzbacher shares his vision for what comes after Orca, the future of carbon removal tech — and why these innovations are crucial to stop climate change.
Okay, maybe I’m geeking out a little on the Climeworks concept, but the idea you can build a machine to suck carbon out of the air and put lots of those babies all over the world really sounds like science fiction, yet ….
So why am I telling you about it? Because it’s important! And it’s complicated. And we should all do our part. This type of solution, carbon removal from the atmosphere, is only one response to this looming threat— a lot of other steps need to be taken as well—electric vehicles, solar energy, less reliance on fossil fuels, etc etc.
But it got me to thinking. What if, along with me buying a subscription to Climeworks to pull a certain amount of carbon from the atmosphere to offset my carbon footprint, I offered that to my clients as well? Would they be eager to jump on board to help me reduce carbon emissions? It could possibly be a win-win for everybody, and as I’m all about social and emotional support, win-win is the goal.
The way I see it working is that I talk to my clients about the impact of having to travel to their location to speak to their people about how social and emotional support can really increase employee engagement, worker retention and overall company mental health.
Climeworks & Carbon Removal
I say, “Hey awesome client, my trip out there to Coolville to speak to your group will cost approximately 500kg in GHG emissions along with other travel expenses. How would you like to contribute to reducing those emissions by purchasing a carbon offset from Climeworks?
They say, “Climeworks? What are you talking about?”
I say all that stuff up above about how cool Climeworks is and how they are helping to save ourselves from ourselves and wouldn’t the client like to share in the cost of reducing our carbon footprint. Since we are creating the carbon footprint together, them by hiring me to fly out there and me by going, it seems like a great example of social support in action. Both of us can promote our work toward reducing climate emissions, feel good about our contributions in that regard, and let everybody know what global social and emotional support looks like.
For me it’s a no brainer. I hope you think so too. Here’s a link to my webpage about carbon offsets for flying, and other interesting webpages about this issue. Learn how you can help reduce your own and that of your company GHG emissions. Let’s get on this bandwagon together to help our children inherit a cleaner, less toxic earth. They deserve it.
Funny keynote speaker Brad Montgomery is an award winning, Hall of Fame speaker. He got his start as a magician & comedian, but now serves convention and meeting audiences in many fields including health care, real estate / REALTORS, sales people, educators and teachers, and 100s of others.
Brad presents his funny keynotes both live and in person, and virtually over Zoom and a few dozen other platforms.
Give us a call, and we’ll talk about how to customize a program just for you and your audience.