It's 7:08 a.m. when I'm jolted awake by the moans of a wounded sea cow from down the hall.
My four-month old daughter is battling some bizarre foot and mouth ailment and her cries lack their normal verve. I've agreed with my wife to split shifts -- working and tending to the little one while she is barred from infecting the other kids at daycare. As I peer into her crib, I can't help but take pride in the fact that she can't even walk and she's already getting suspended from school.
I roll downstairs and hit the electric kettle for my morning tea. For a moment I question why people have such a hard time with dudes who drink tea. Is it because I'm from Jersey? Does it conflict with my macho persona? My confusion fades the moment I turn on the news -- orange haired freak allegedly shooting up a movie theater, legendary football coach covering up for a twisted pedophile, and a piece about the earth-saving merits of clean coal. Suffice it to say, I live in the U.S. where normalcy is relative and hard to come by.
Dejected, I flip on my laptop. First order of business is to check with my PR agency for any outstanding media inquiries. Ah yes, a time-sensitive request from Fox News requesting comment on how hybrids help fight global warming and how traditional gas cars contribute to it. I get the sense I'm being baited.
As someone who drives perhaps the only hybrid that averages less than 25 mpg, I'll be the first to agree that hybrid technology has a ways to go. My response is something to the effect that finding alternative solutions to fossil fuels doesn't necessarily mean having all the right answers today, but working toward the right solutions, as opposed to denying the problem altogether. The scientists tell me that carbon emissions are a primary contributor to climate change, so working toward solutions with lower emissions should be the end goal. Period.
Running a non-profit ratings organization, the rest of my day is generally associated with achieving three things: remaining relevant, remaining viable and communicating the message of corporate climate leadership in a way that is palatable to consumers. People don't want to hear about polar bears, or be beaten over the head with doomsday climate scenarios. We offer them crib sheets and cliff notes on how they can make wiser buying decisions. Beyond that, we work with businesses that want to improve on their sustainability performance. We've been labeled many things, including socialists. This couldn't be further from the truth -- many of us are committed to the idea that there's a market-based solution to everything, including the climate situation.
Damn, the donate button on our website isn't working properly. I call the folks in IT and see how quickly they can remedy the situation. When possible the goal is to keep the geeks working proactively on apps and web tools that will generate more hits and help spread the message. Sometimes things just don't go as planned.
After lunch, I work with our co-sponsor on the agenda for a peer forum we're hosting for sustainability professionals. Levi's, Annie's and REI are in -- Method may have just signed on a well. Sweet.
A call comes in from another non-profit looking to partner up in some way or another. I check my calendar and decide to take it. Partnerships are key to leveraging resources for a nonprofit, but they also have the potential to be a needless time sink with zero sum benefit. The goal, therefore, is to set expectations off the bat on what the value would be for both sides.
As the day progresses, I generally become more optimistic -- few people can truly say they love what they do, and I realize that. My one gripe is that society seems to be heading in the wrong direction and no one seems all that bothered by it. When people are more apt to watch a television show about bratty childhood divas than anything that's even remotely educational, I think it's apparent we have a problem. Maybe I'll call my local congressman and see what he thinks.
6:19 p.m. Time to pack it in and enjoy a scotch.
Mike Bellamente is both an author and the director of Climate Counts, a consumer outreach organization that rates corporations on how well they measure, reduce and report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Mike's work has been featured in various publications including Huffington Post, Corporate Responsibility Magazine and Corp Magazine. In February 2012, he was named to Ethisphere's 2011 list of 100 most influential people in business ethics.
Follow Mike Bellamente on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mbellamente