Raising Your Voice on Earth Day (and Every Day)

April 22, 2024 Bridgid Lutz

I spent Earth Day 1990 in Central Park at a rally. My friends and I took the train into the city and spent the day with about 1 million people, all of whom were there to celebrate our planet and call for action to protect it (and also hear the B-52’s). I remember the event organizers saying that the band would not go on until people got out of the trees, which they had climbed to get a better view. We chanted and yelled for them to get out of the trees—they could be damaging them! (And they were delaying the show!) 

Earth Day looks quite a bit different for me this year. I’m very far away from Central Park, and because I work from home, I definitely won’t be around a million people. Even so, raising my voice to protect the planet is still as important as ever. I work in a field that is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, and I realize how fortunate I am to be a part of that! As an industry, those of us in energy efficiency do incredibly important work, but as Director of Sustainability, I believe that I also have a responsibility to share both how this work gets done and why it matters, so that more people can contribute to the overall effort. That is often done by working with my teammates here at Franklin Energy, but it is sometimes also done in other places, too. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to MBA classes at the Hult International School of Business in Boston. I discussed sustainability practices in business, and specifically how sustainability plans are executed. After learning about the steps it took Franklin Energy to start our sustainability program, the class participated in a materiality assessment workshop to understand how priorities and goals are identified. The students in these classes were impressive, to say the least. They made spot-on connections between their own sustainability experiences and a businesses’ longevity and profitability. They brought valuable insights on why specific criteria would or would not be seen as material to certain businesses—and why it matters. It was inspiring to speak with these people, who are the future of the corporate world, and see that they understand their important role in protecting our planet. 

I also had the very good fortune to spend a day with one of our teams as they worked with high school students at a skilled trades expo. Our team gave demonstrations of energy assessments in a commercial kitchen while discussing energy savings, cost savings, and incentives. They also explained building envelope tightness and used a blower door to demonstrate how a leaky building leads to reduced efficiency and higher costs. The demonstrations and lessons were valuable to students, who left with an understanding of the basics of building energy efficiency and the career opportunities in this field. These students are the future of the skilled trades world, and thanks to the team who took the time to educate them, they can now see tangible ways they can contribute to energy savings while helping their neighbors save on energy costs.  

Of course, I am very partial to the work that we do at Franklin Energy. We have the best of the best here, and our impact is big. However, we cannot make the change the world needs to combat climate change, preserve our natural systems, and keep the planet healthy for future generations on our own. To do that, we need to share what we know in order to multiply our impact. Just like I did in 1990, I still believe that joining with others and inspiring change is the greatest way to protect the planet. Whether it’s the sustainability practices at Franklin Energy, the work of our passionate and ambitious industry partners, or even individuals making changes at home, we all have a job to do.  

So, on this Earth Day, 2024, I call on each of you to use your voice! Share what you know. Be specific and show others how to make an impact. It is only through our collective efforts that we will be able to make the changes that we need to help this beautiful planet.  

Happy Earth Day.  

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