Why do I care about Climate Change?
This section of my site is fairly important to me, so I felt a need to christen it in some way sooner rather than later - can't have it being blank for too long! I want to discuss why climate change is so important to me, and why I'm focussing on it now, of all times.
A little Background
I grew up in the countryside, and I've always loved the environment, animals - who doesn't, right? Animals in particular always seemed easier to understand than people, who I've always found rather hard to get my head around. I can't remember when I first heard about climate change, but I was definitely aware growing up that global warming was a concerning threat. Though I heard arguments for and against both global warming and human-induced climate change, I always felt that it was definitely the case that humans were causing the planet to warm. However, the consequences never really felt that immediate - we didn't know what would happen (it probably wouldn't be good), or when it would start to take hold - which made the whole thing feel like an existential threat.
After leaving school, I moved to London, where I've lived for over 10 years now. The smog and pollution made a much more convincing argument that humans were doing some serious damage to the planet - breathing in diesel fumes for 90 minutes a day cycling to and from work tends to make you aware of such things!
In recent years, the heat waves and weird weather (remember the 'Beast from the East'?) really made the case for this climate change thing being much more of an immediate threat than before - something that we should start trying to tackle now. I've cut down on meat, I try to recycle, all the usual suspects, but beyond the individual level, it's always felt like too big a problem to try and take on by myself. I'm a software engineer by trade - what can I do - write code at the heat waves? I'm no Elon Musk (either in skills or ego), so I felt there was little I could do, other than donate to worthy causes and hope the world saw sense.
As mentioned, I'm a software engineer. It became clear to me fairly early on that doing something meaningful was very important to me, but for a while, the most important thing was to learn as much as possible, gaining useful skills, and trying to figure out what felt most meaningful whenever I had the opportunity to change jobs and shop around.
I've posted in the past about quitting my last job in December. I needed a month or so completely off work, to recover from mild burnout, but I started to get itchy feet a couple of months back. I knew that I wanted meaningful work, but couldn't seem to find it in the tech companies that were looking for people with my skills. I'd always had vague ambitions of starting something at some point in the future, but was always intimidated - I felt I lacked the intense drive and determination that, say Elon Musk or Bill Gates are reknowned for.
A year or so back I came across Indie Hackers, and realised that there was a whole community of folks doing things a different way from the growth-centric startup model I'd known up to that point. This felt much more my scene - I could do things on my terms (bootstrapping, for example, and not taking on VC money and obligations). It also meant I could avoid job hunting for a while (definitely a plus), learn lots of new things, and potentially take control of my career for good. That left a problem - what do I build?
I've been jotting down 'startup ideas' both small and large for ages, and a number of them revolved around green technologies or climate change mitigation concepts. However, they all seemed way too large for one person working alone (and wanting to bootstrap) - there was little to no chance of success (I'm also really good at talking myself out of things).
Climate comes to the fore
I was chatting with a friend of mine a lot around the time I left my last job. We were both super keen on environmental causes, and tackling them from a tech perspective. Fired by these discussions, I started doing a lot of research and digging around on where CO2 was coming from, what means there were to tackle various aspects of climate change, brainstorming, cataloguing interesting companies/movements/groups - you name it. It took a fair while, but I started to build up a pretty decent collection of materials around climate change.
I still didn't have a clear idea of what I could tackle, but I realised that I'd had to do all this research because there wasn't a good place for all this info - somewhere where people who want to do something can dive in and read about things, exchange ideas, get inspiration, see what's happening. There are activism movements aplenty (and I don't want to belittle them - the Extinction Rebellion movement, and individuals such as Greta Thunberg have shown how powerful that can be), but I'm of the mindset that the more fronts we approach this on, the better. The scale of the problem is beyond virtually anything that we've faced as a species, so we need to think outside the box.
On that front, I'm intending to start a site to collate all of the various research and info I've gathered over the past 6 months to a year. It'll probably be a bit piecemeal to start with, but I'm hoping to augment it and tidy it up. The idea is that I can attract like minded people who maybe become inspired to do something themselves - if we can form a community to support people and inspire them to create a better future, what worthier cause is there?
I'm starting to lay out the ground work for that new site now. I'm not sure how long it'll take, as I'm still getting to grips with web dev, and it's a reasonably involved undertaking. I'll post progress on here as I get things together, and maybe cross-post a few of the bits of research and investigation I intend to post on there.
This idea kinda came together by accident, whilst searching for inspiration - the searching became the idea! I think it can go places, but it may not, and even if it does, it likely won't pay my rent, so I'm still hunting around for other ideas to pursue alongside this. I have a few at the draft stage, but I'll leave those for another time :) If you have any thoughts or ideas as to things I should pursue, let me know!