August, 2008

August 11th, 2008

Women: Today’s Climate Leaders

The following is a guest post from Rachel Eades, one of our amazing summer interns at Climate Counts. Rachel is a student at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

I know the dangers of global warming and I understand the urgent need for action. But too often I am paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of the climate crisis, and by the time I stop to think about what I could do, it is already time to make dinner or tackle the next chore.

This is the challenge for women like me. As much as I want to devote my energies to saving the world, “reverse global warming” somehow gets trumped by “pay the phone bill” and “buy groceries” on my never-ending list of things to do. Today’s woman is overwhelmed by the myriad responsibilities of un-paid work, an endless “laundry list” that occupies most of her energy (often in addition to a paid job). Taking the dog to the vet, scheduling appointments, caring for elders, buying groceries, fixing the sink, cleaning the house, raising children—how does anyone have time to plan responsible climate action or investigate who is doing what to save our planet?

This is where Climate Counts comes in. Business is the driving force behind greenhouse gas emissions, and the only institution powerful enough to reverse its harmful effects. And business depends on consumers. Nearly every item on my to-do list is a consumer action, involving products and services that I made a choice (conscious or not) to purchase. In fact women like me help influence the purchase of 80% of all consumer goods. As the primary decision-makers, women have incredible power to dictate which companies receive their household’s hard-earned dollars. And as a woman, I want those companies to be leaders in the fight against global warming.

I keep a Climate Counts pocket guide in my purse to remind me which companies are most closely aligned with my own concerns about climate change – in other words, which companies, like me, are trying to understand their impacts on global warming and working to reduce them. The Climate Counts rankings are particularly useful because these companies are everywhere. I don’t have to search for hours to find them, as I would with most green businesses. Often, using my consumer dollars to send a message is as simple as choosing a different brand of toothpaste at the drugstore. Of course, none of these major companies are perfect, but the Climate Counts rankings tell me which companies are committed to addressing climate change and which companies are not.

They all need to hear that fighting climate change really does matter. I tell my friends and my co-workers about their power as climate-conscious consumers. And recently, when I had a few extra minutes on my computer, I sent an email to one company that improved their Climate Counts score by 38 points over the past year (nice job, Google!).

When women speak, companies listen. Now is the time to raise our voices and demand climate leadership from the world’s largest corporations.

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