Become more aware of your consumption — portion your food to reduce waste, limit consumption of red meat, avoid products with excess packaging or plastics, and opt for reusable options when available.
As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marisa de Belloy. Marisa de Belloy is the CEO of Cool Effect, a San Francisco Bay Area 501(c)(3) non-profit that allows individuals to create a tangible impact on climate change funding to the highest-quality carbon reducing projects around the world. Marisa’s expertise spans a multitude of fields ranging from non-profit management, investment banking, strategy, consulting, and corporate development to international entrepreneurial ventures.
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 grew up surrounded by family on the East Coast in New Jersey, which fostered my core values of humility, gratitude, and kindness that I carry into all aspects of my work with Cool Effect. While I have been settled on the West Coast and assimilated to the California life, I am an East Coast girl at heart, and also spent 15+ years working in Europe which has prepared me for a lot of different scenarios in both business and personal life.
Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become an environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?
I have a passion for human rights, which led to my second career in the non-profit world. Prior to joining Cool Effect, I held a leadership position at Made In A Free World, a San Francisco-based anti-slavery non-profit that created a software program to help businesses understand the risk of slavery in their supply chains. Through my work in human rights, I found the world’s poorest are being impacted the worst by climate change, so it was a natural next step to get involved in a non-profit that is working to save the planet while helping communities that need the support.
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?
Coming from a career in the for-profit world, I would encourage anyone to use the skills you have to follow your passions. There is so much work to be done, and we could use every bright mind working to fight this urgent issue. Also, as a mother of four, it’s safe to say my children surprise and impress me every day with their knowledge of our world’s issues, so no matter the age, your voice matters.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that Cool Effect are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
Cool Effect is a San Francisco Bay Area 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to reducing carbon emissions around the world by allowing individuals, businesses, organizations and universities to create a tangible impact on the climate crisis by funding the highest quality carbon reduction projects that are verifiably and measurably reducing global warming emissions.
Each project on the platform verifiably reduces carbon emissions, with socio-economic benefits for the surrounding communities. Through support from individual contributions and work with businesses, Cool Effect has retired over one million tonnes of carbon since launching in 2015.
Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?
Three things people can do right now:
1. Call your energy provider to make the switch to renewable energy, if you haven’t already.
2. Become more aware of your consumption — portion your food to reduce waste, limit consumption of red meat, avoid products with excess packaging or plastics, and opt for reusable options when available.
3. After making adjustments to your lifestyle, offset the remainder of your carbon footprint through high quality, additional carbon reduction projects, such as the projects on the Cool Effect platform.
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.
1. Education. Provide your children with the tools and resources to learn about the environment and our impact on the world.
2. Let them ask questions. Foster a space where your children can openly ask questions to help them build their understanding and interest.
3. Lead by example. Do everything in your power to show your children the best choices to make for the environment.
4. Support their voice. Encourage your children to speak up for what they believe in, and give them the tools they need to make their voice heard.
5. Allow them to be children. As urgent as the climate crisis is, it is also important not to constantly instill fear for the future. Encourage your children to be engaged, but also give a sense of hope and optimism through eco-friendly actions.
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?
Many consumers are looking to businesses to improve their practices. There will only be increased pressure from the market for eco-friendly and sustainable options, which has led to many businesses proactively setting sustainability and carbon reduction goals. At Cool Effect, we work with businesses of all sizes — from technology powerhouses such as Salesforce and Twitter to mission-driven start-ups such as Thistle and Soleil Toujours — to identify ways that carbon offsets can fit into a comprehensive sustainability strategy, and help work towards the goal of carbon neutrality.
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?
I am grateful for my family — particularly my husband and four children — for their unconditional love and support in everything I do. They constantly inspire me to be the best version of myself and continue the work I do, if only to improve their future in this ever-changing world.
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.
I would love to inspire individuals and business leaders alike to take an in-depth look at their impact on this world and ask them to do everything in their power to reduce that impact. There are choices you can make every single day to better this world and fight for our future — and it all starts with taking that first step. Similar to the philosophy of the Cool Effect founders Dee and Richard Lawrence, like the Butterfly Effect, The Ripple Effect, and others, a single action can have global impact.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
“Doing is better than saying.” — Alfred de Musset
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!