The Joy of Sustainability
David Bolt is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his work demonstrating that corporate environmental leadership makes sense, both for business and for American communities.
I have dedicated my life to eliminating waste. Whether it was trying to reduce the number of steps to cut the lawn as a child, reduce the time it took a computer program to run as a software developer, or today, trying to get more done with less energy.
If you knew me in late 2003 you would say I was the epitome of the American Dream. I was born into a wonderful middle class family, worked hard in school and in my career, made enough money by my mid 40’s to potentially retire and take life easy. While I was blessed to have the gift of time and money, the future was still quite uncertain for my 14 year old son and my 8 year old daughter.
On the positive side there has been tremendous technological progress. Just look at things like cell phones, cable and satellite television, the internet and computers. Despite this tremendous technological progress, I was and still am very concerned about the future that my children are inheriting. The technological and material success does not seem to have brought joy and happiness to many people.
I spent over a year and a half reading, talking with people and thinking about this issue. It appeared to me that the lack of joy and happiness was because we are not living sustainably. In other words, we are living beyond our means in many areas of our lives. A few examples of this include:
- Financially, spending money faster than we make it.
- Environmentally, polluting faster than nature can clean up.
- Energy, using (wasting) energy faster than it can be replaced.
- Agriculturally, losing topsoil faster than it is being created
- Socially, depleting social capital faster than it is being created.
Many people may think this next statement to be idealistic, naive or just plain wrong.
I believe all that is needed to solve most of this Nation’s problems is a critical mass of people experiencing the joy of sustainable living.
The more sustainable my life becomes, the more joy and happiness comes my way. Recently I was talking with a friend who spends over $100 per week putting gas in his truck. Currently I drive an electric car that costs $2.50 to drive 100 miles! I spend less than $10 a week while my friend spends over $100 to drive the same distance. Another plus is that I receive the electricity for the car from solar energy. In fact, I can drive over 45,000 miles a year on the electricity that is produced by the solar carport at Sustainable Future. Choosing a solar carport over a kitchen remodel, luxury car, or boat frees me from ever having to buy fuel again. Living within one’s means while saving the environment is actually freeing and is not a sacrifice.
The transformation of the U.S. to sustainability cannot be accomplished by government, non-profits, individuals or corporations alone. It takes all of the above working in harmony to truly effect change. I founded Sustainable Future, LLC with the goal of modeling sustainable living at the company and employee level to facilitate the opportunity for a critical mass of people to experience the joy of living sustainably.
While we model many areas of sustainability, we are currently focused on renewable energy as a business. Enough solar energy hits the earth in one hour to meet all of the world’s energy needs for one year. Does it make sense to continue buying non-renewable lottery tickets in the hope that our energy problems will go away? Or does it make more sense to invest in renewable energy? Right now, today’s renewable energies are cheaper than non-renewable. However, the detractors of solar do not factor in all of the subsidies given to non-renewable energy (hundreds of billions of dollars a year in the USA), and they do not factor in the cost of our military to secure foreign oil supplies or our ongoing medical costs due to air pollution.
As I stated earlier, not one group, agency or individual can effect change. We as a nation must work together in an ongoing and tireless fashion to truly effect change. I am very proud to have received the White House Champion of Change award and trust that you will join me in our mission to live sustainably.
David Bolt started Sustainable Future, LLC with the vision to build a sustainable future for individuals, the community and the world by being a trusted source for innovative and inspiring renewable energy sources.