Show your children the beauty of the planet they reside on. Take them camping or birdwatching, on a hike in in the ocean. Ensure your child shares and understands the value of a finite resource. Maybe start with sharing toys with friends and then food to someone who is homeless. Lead by example. Act responsibly, especially in front of your children. Do not waste food and ensure you recycle.
I had the pleasure of interviewing John Salzinger. John is MPOWERD’s Chief Business Development officer and Founder He launched the B Corp with the idea that innovative companies have a responsibility to lead — not only in the marketplace, but as a real force for good. He launched and managed several global media, tech and finance companies before starting MPOWERD, where he’s been a guiding force behind pretty much every aspect of the company’s strategy. From business growth to sales, marketing and product development — he holds multiple Luci patents. Outside the office, you’d most likely find him practicing his jump shot on the court or surfing waves.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I luckily grew up here in NYC where most people do not deal with challenges like dirty forms of energy in their home, unsafe water, serious security issues, sanitation challenges, food shortages, etc. Now I do say most, as many in NYC and the United States also have it very difficult and our society is not a level playing field by any means. I could have told you all of this by the time I was in middle school as my parents instilled a gratefulness and hard work ethic in all of their children — so I was fortunate here too. I stayed out of trouble through basketball and made a ton of friends from all walks of life — yet another amazing characteristic of growing up in NYC. Thankfully I see individuals but fully understand the awful dangerous power of social constructs that commonly are used to divide all of us. That itself, is not enough, however, as reality meets these constructs daily in the lives of so many, therefor searching for purpose in my work was a way to pay it forward. Founding MPOWERD simply made sense to me and each day I am able to help others is a day well spent.
Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?
I think that we all have a responsibility to care for each other and our environment. The aha moment for me happens daily. Unfortunately, deviant behavior is rampant in our politics and global corporate culture and is harming all of us and our children, let alone all inhabitants of our beautiful planet. These moments are there to be seen, realized and actioned and so it is a voyage of aha’s that keeps me working towards what I hope to see as a solution to, at least, the most glaring of inequities and environmental issues.
Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?
My life is not so meaningful as to provide an amazing anecdotal experience. In my opinion, the absolute key is to be able to put yourself in someone else’s position. And I am not referring to day to day “1st world” annoyances like lack of manners or complaints on the morning commute. I am talking about opening up your eyes to the daily and preposterous social global inequalities and disasterous environmental practices we see every day but sometimes become numb to. There is so much to resolve today, right here and right now and as long as “Public Servants” do not serve the public is behooves all of us to become the best Private Servants we possibly can be. People / planet are one and so our day to day behavior is what can literally change the world.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
We manufacture and deploy solar lights and energy banks that are responsible for 680,000 US tons of CO2 being averted to date. This metric is only pointing to the lights that are sent out through an NGO network of emerging markets that is now thankfully up to 680 organizations but does not count the tons of CO2 we have averted in developed countries like the US and EU.
Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks things that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?
Vote in the planet’s best interest, vote in your children’s best interest and vote with your money by choosing environmentally responsible companies to purchase items from. Donegood.co has a fantastic plugin for this.
Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview: The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.
– Show your children the beauty of the planet they reside on. Take them camping or birdwatching, on a hike in in the ocean.
– Ensure your child shares and understands the value of a finite resource. Maybe start with sharing toys with friends and then food to someone who is homeless.
– Lead by example. Act responsibly, especially in front of your children. Do not waste food and ensure you recycle.
– Education is the key to all of this. Ensure your child reads from accurate scientific sources and does not get caught up by those who misuse the internet or corporations that message to the public based on profit over purpose.
– Give a hoot and don’t pollute! Go further than that. Literally, get out there and when you are on a beach or in a park or in the woods or even on a subway, pick up the trash you see. Every action creates a positive or negative change and you might as well be on the upside!
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
Sure! The climate is changing. Pun intended. People care more and more about the brands that they purchase from. There is real power in choosing a sustainable B Corp versus a company that exhibits bad environmental practices — and there are so many options to choose from. Good example — see the financial progress and market leader positioning Unilever has made since they adopted their more sustainable practices.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Not one — so many. Really most of the people I have come into contact with have provided lessons to be learned or lessons in deviant behavior. I am not one to hold a person above others so my example is a numerous shout out to anyone who has offered a positive vibration, or a lesson learned, or a better way or a helping hand. Thank you ALL!
You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Kindness. It starts with a smile and the way you raise your children. It can manifest in an ear for someone to listen to. It can take the form of standing up for someone who is being unfairly treated. It is as simple as lending a helping hand but doing it just to do it and without the hope for a massive movement. We all have great influence and if we all exert it in a positive manner then we would find ourselves in a much better place — literally and figuratively.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
Me, we. Purportedly spoken by Muhammad Ali at a commencement speech when asked for the shortest poem — but not confirmed. I think MPOWERD does just that for all of us. We are a vehicle for participation and change. I hope I can live up to these words.
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?
This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
No, Thank YOU!