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Climate change is a sure conversation stopper, and taboo for a business like ours. Many consider it political, and of course we fear alienating our customers, who we value, respect and depend on. However, in Alaska we see the effects of global warming up close in the form of melting permafrost, disappearing glaciers and failing salmon runs. At this waning window of opportunity for climate action, we feel it’s important to acknowledge the challenges we face and to express what makes us hopeful.
At Invisible World, we continue to ponder how to participate in one of the most ancient forms of trade, textiles, while not pushing our planet further toward catastrophe. Our business, like most businesses, uses carbon to transport items and plastic bags to contain them. While natural fibers like alpaca and wool are far better for the environment than synthetics, and their enduring quality also lowers their impact, it still has a cost, and we are aware of that.
Invisible World is taking the steps it can. We have adopted compostable non-polluting mailers for our Alaska shipments, and are ordering them for warehouses in the UK and Germany. We’ve reduced our travel, and are looking at ways to continue to develop product while keeping flying to a minimum. By switching to an electric car and heat pumps, we’ve saved ourselves a lot of money while greatly reducing our household climate impact. Our electricity here is hydro, but even with coal-generated electricity, these two technologies are so efficient they will still considerably reduce your carbon footprint as well as leaving more money in your pocket. You don’t have to be concerned about climate to like that idea.
Most of all, we work in our community to address the problem. We helped create the local chapter of 350.org and we’re co-founders of Alaska Interfaith Power and Light, a group that organizes for climate action through religious congregations. So, yes, we have given our share of sermons and been fortunate to get to know pastors of many denominations, not all of whom agree with us. We are also working hard to lower Juneau’s carbon footprint by turning ecommerce techniques to the task of rapid heat pump adoption. This is an area where entrepreneurial skills are badly needed.
It’s when we work together with other people that we feel the most hope. This problem is a long time in the making and it will take hundreds of different solutions to solve it. The good news is that these solutions will make our lives better. Electric vehicles, regenerative agriculture, silvopasture, mariculture, inexpensive renewable energy: this is not a question of retreating to the Dark Ages, but of moving forward to better ages that acknowledge our connection to the creatures we share this planet with. Solutions are at hand if we choose to grasp them, and there is enough for all of us.
Check out Project Drawdown for for a factual, solutions-oriented view of a scary topic.