Spokane Journal of Business

Climate-conscious consumption, investment urged

Wealth adviser, scientist stand on common ground

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When a private wealth planner and a climate scientist converse, you might think the conversation between the two women would devolve into a debate about money versus nature. With us—Sarah Carlson and Jackie Francis—that isn’t the case. We have found common ground in a shared commitment to the long-term health of our economy and planet.

If you turn on most news outlets, you will likely be bombarded by stories on climate change and its resulting natural disasters. Most viewers feel helpless and doubtful of their own personal impact on mitigating the climate crisis. But what about creating solutions by creating a dialogue across sectors and demographics? We both believe, together we can all take small yet deliberate steps toward a healthier future.

Now is the time to align your money choices with climate-conscious choices. It all starts with one decision toward action. Every one of us makes daily financial decisions that can make an impact on climate change.

Scientists, other related experts, and concerned citizens have been ringing the warning bells for decades about the perils of the climate crisis; and the proof of global warming is now playing out in real time.

Recent surveys show that more than 80% of Americans are willing to change their behavior concerning climate disruption, but most don’t know what they can do to be part of the solution. Younger generations are suffering mild to severe anxiety and depression due to their feelings of helplessness and despair about global warming. Many young people are harboring resentment toward their parents and grandparents for ignoring the necessity for action.

So, what is the fundamental cause of the climate disruption we’re experiencing? Global warming is a significant contributor. Specific molecules in our atmosphere interact with heat to keep the planet warm enough for life as we know it to survive. Adding too many of these molecules to our atmosphere increases the overall heat, which in turn leads to imbalances that ripple through the entire planetary system. Releasing and burning coal, oil, and natural gas are tipping the natural balance of carbon-based molecules in the atmosphere, subsequently warming our planet.

Humanity has come to rely on fossil fuel to be a significant energy source to drive our economy. However, innovative energy advancements have been remarkable in recent years, and alternative ways to use energy will profoundly affect the future of the planet. Will our Earth continue to heat up exponentially, or can our efforts as a society mitigate the worst of global warming? Now is the time to build both traditional knowledge and the innovation of today and tomorrow.

What can be done? The simple answer is: A lot. We can all start by making informed and conscious choices that align with our lifestyles, values, and a livable future. Under capitalism, our consumption choices drive the demand of how and what is produced.

Consider building habits of constructive and thoughtful spending. What are some examples? Organic, sustainably grown food, rather than processed junk food. Also, reusable products over disposable items should be the norm. Remember that reducing waste leads to more stability for the planet and your pocketbook. How much more plastic do you really need imported from China?

Big purchases can reflect climate consciousness by simply identifying how oil, gas, or coal connect to your choice.

There are many questions for you to consider: Would an electric vehicle fit my lifestyle? Do I need a big house? Could I live near my work—and walk or bike? Would going on a vacation without flying across the world be just as fun and fulfilling?

The bottom line is that your choices matter, and in order to start toward a more sustainable, earth friendly ecosystem, it starts with a choice you will make today.

Sarah Carlson is the owner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group, of Spokane. She can be reached at 509.747.2075. Jacquelyn Francis is the founder, executive director, and board member of Aspen, Colorado-based Global Warming Mitigation Project.

Sarah Carlson
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Sarah Carlson is the owner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group, of Spokane. She can be reached at 509.747.2075.

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