When you get right down to it, I had no business starting a podcast. Especially one about climate change. I’m neither famous, nor particularly great at public speaking, and in the grand scheme of things know precious little about the climate emergency.
But instead of worry about it, as I found myself increasingly doing last year, I decided to learn about the problem. And what better way to learn than talk to people?
As we prepare to launch Series 2, here are the key learnings from the fabulous guests who helped get this thing off the ground.
David Darmanin (Hotjar) and Jordyn Bonds (Tallylab) both highlighted the vital importance of speaking up… and carrying on speaking up even if things don’t work out right away. Jordyn’s take on this draws from parallel experiences in bringing up ethical issues in other organisations while David explains the shock factor of a young girl — Greta Thunberg — speaking up. Repeatedly.
Stop Making Excuses
Very few people are experts on climate change, sustainability, and carbon neutrality. But inaction due to lack of knowledge is often just an excuse. Software companies are actually really good at learning new things, it just needs some commitment.
Despite their lack of expert knowledge, Richard de Nys (Award Force), Natalie Nagele (Wildbit), and David Darmanin (Hotjar) have all committed to reducing their company’s footprints by establishing measurement processes and company policies.
Peldi of Balsamiq is famous for his reluctance to measure every aspect of this business. While this is counterintuitive to many software geeks there’s an important lesson there: doing the right thing should not be based on ROI.
So sure, while its useful to know your exact carbon footprint, it’s not remotely necessary to start there. You can switch to greener hosting, for example, without worrying about attributing that back to customer satisfaction, churn, loyalty, or what have you. It’s the right thing to do.
“Don’t be selfish”
Accusing a climate activist of being selfish typically seems like something a climate science denier would say. But Steli Efti, CEO of Close, is making that point that to effect deep change within an organisation you need to approach that change from a selfless point of view. Its important to understand what other things are of major concern to your CEO’s, or your staff’s, lives and work to fit carbon neutrality into that. Simply shouting louder doesn’t always achieve the best results.
Similarly, Simon Galbraith of Redgate talks about the importance of biodiversity and habitat loss and how that, for him, is an even bigger issue. A single-minded focus on carbon at the further expense of other planetary inhabitants is just as selfish and misguided in his opinion.
“Tech has lost its moral compass…”
… if it ever had one. Harsh, but likely true, sentiments echoed by Mark Littlewood (Business of Software), Bridget Harris (You Can Book Me), Cennydd Bowles (NowNext), Gareth Marlow (EQ Systems), and Rand Fishkin (SparkToro).
With these guests we dove deep into the misguidedness of modern software companies’ focus on growth at all costs. How far from being a force for good, many tech and consumer electronics companies are more akin to “vandals” than innovators.
The Internet’s Dirty Secret
Hiding behind pixel-perfect interfaces and clean glass devices we forget, or don’t even know, that today’s web carbon footprint eclipses that of global aviation.
This topic, and how to mitigate it with design and technology, is covered with guests Oli Hall (Forge The Future), Tom Greenwood (Wholegrain Digital), and James Christie (SustainableUX).
Look for the Feedback Loop
And last, but one of my personal favourites, my conversation with Gareth Marlow (EQ Systems) highlights just how difficult it is for almost anybody to truly understand climate change effects.
Because the feedback loops are so hard to even identify, let alone see. But by no means impossible, and we discuss a number of historical and current examples of how the effects of climate change can already be seen on our doorsteps.
Join us for Series 2
Very soon we’ll be publishing new episodes as part of our next series. This time focusing more heavily on entrepreneurs who are working directly in the climate change space… and the investors who are funding them.