Being Green Means Being Innovative and Empathetic

Jennifer Holmgren of LanzaTech

Jennifer Holmgren of LanzaTech

Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, is a force of nature.  She's not your typical CEO - aggressive, type A, “all about the company.”  Rather, she's an Energy Whisperer. Her company uses science (biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, etc.) to discover new tools to develop sustainable power. Capturing carbon, making fuel from waste, these are some of the genius solutions her company is engaged in. 

She's been an influential figure in the Energy sector for almost three decades. On top of making renewable energy her life’s work , Jennifer has also created a company culture that's transparent, open, empathetic and focused on changing human behavior.

Her insights from the front line of sustainability tech: 

  • One of the biggest realized shifts in the past several years is that renewable energy has become mainstream.  It's no longer considered sci-fi or a joke.  
  • “Being Green” for green’s sake is not necessarily attractive to consumers. But when we make it economically beneficial to families, it does become attractive. While this isn't the ideal mindset in environmentalists' eyes, we need to account for people's irrational responses to calls for any major life-changing behavior.
  • We can't depend solely on government to take care of the sustainability problem. Government will catch up, but in the meantime, we need to rely on our ourselves and our communities to make behavioral changes.  
  • Simple things such as turning off lights, coffee pots, etc. when they're not in use make a big difference, and so this gives us a chance to make a difference through small behavior changes.
  • The vote is powerful. If energy issues matter to you, vote for candidates who believe in this cause. 
  • In addition to talking about climate change and the sea level rising, we need to consider and discuss the destruction of specific ecosystems. Imagine the world without coffee, or certain animals disappearing forever.  
  • We can't debate around “If we believe in climate change.” Belief is a word that's used when we're having conversations about religion. Ecosystem destruction and climate change is not about belief, as it's been proven time after time by facts and data. So, we should teach our children to think with data, and not confuse them with the word "belief."
  • Equate social and economic justice by talking about energy democracy: giving people clean water to drink, lights to read a book, and schools with power so that children can study and learn. 

Jagruti Bhikha is an engineer, women-in-tech advocate, and a Diversity and Inclusion Coach for fortune 500 companies.


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