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  • Writer's pictureDominique Young

Small yet impactful

Today, there was a rally to garner support for legislation from elected officials to support more efforts to make changes in how we live in our environment. I know this is a blog regarding small business and intellectual property, however, small businesses can make small efforts that create a huge impact on our environment. We all have a responsibility to take care of Earth, and businesses are included.

The mayor spoke and delineated the goals for the city to influence efforts to thwart climate change. Some of those goals were for businesses. The goals that he announced would create many new opportunities for business. Agenda items like more EV ready parking spaces and building more reliance on solar energy. Solar energy is a great area to build up a small business.

Solar panels offer homeowners a way to lower their energy bills and rely less on fossil fuels. Solar panels can withstand the elements and use an energy source that is clean and renewable. There are opportunities for individuals to have solar panel installation businesses, solar panel repair businesses, and invention opportunities to create newer and more receptive solar panels that will totally eviscerate a homeowners need for large power plants that rely on non-renewable energy sources to deliver power to homes. The market is out there. If this is an area of interest, take charge and do the research to create the business at a level that is ripe for strong development.

What most people don't realize is that being environmentally friendly is not just for the elite or "tree-huggers". The way we treat the earth effects all, especially low income citizens. One of the speakers at the rally informed the crowd that there is a wave of immigrants coming to the US, not to escape just poverty and persecution. They are coming to remove themselves and their families from the effects of climate change that are affecting their native lands. As a business, small or large, there is a duty to consider the surroundings when building businesses. Though it is nice to have paper and pencils to write, consider the forests that have to be cut down to create those paper and pencils. Less trees mean less roots to stabilize the soil and provide shade from the heat. Less stabilization in the soil causes more mudslides in areas where people just don't have the resources to escape natural disasters. Though we want to experience exotic places, we want the luxuries of a developed nation. With that luxury is construction and removal of natural resources. As individuals and businesses, we have to take those concerns into consideration and determine whether the revenue from development will pay the environmental costs to the natives and their homeland.

The last speaker likened the environmental justice movement to the civil rights movement. He stated that in the beginning stages of the civil rights movement, they were under-funded and out-manned, though they had the strength and belief that they were on the right track with the right purpose. That same drive must be accepted today with environmental justice. With the civil rights movement, the leaders initially went after the oppressors pockets. They knew the impact that the minority could have in affecting change by showing the majority how much they relied on minorities for their livelihood. First the bus system, then diners and soda shops. Slowly, yet surely, change was affected. As a business owner, you can be on the right side of change by making the small changes to your business that will leave a big impact on how the world lessens the effects of climate change. Things like electric vehicles for delivery, paperless offices, solar panels to run your businesses are small yet effective efforts to lower the carbon footprint.

If anything can get you to change your business efforts, hopefully it is the story of one of the younger speakers at the rally. This 11th grader has asthma yet plays four sports. The air pollution of the city makes it difficult for her to enjoy the sports she loves because of how her asthma reacts to the environment. The same youth sports that small businesses support have children with health issues that are heightened by our environmental actions. So when you support youth sports through buying jerseys and trophies, also support them by making changes to the way you run your business so that they can play outdoors for years to come.

Like the last speaker stated, "This is our time to be excited about what we are doing... This is our movement... The beginning is always now."

Happy Earth Day, small business owners!

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