New Campaign Spotlights the One Big, Easy Thing You Can Do for the Climate

An entire series of short videos makes the case for ethical investing.

Make My Money Matter

Make My Money Matter

Back in July, I asked whether the climate movement was too focused on sacrifice and heroics. I was not suggesting that heroics don’t matter, nor that sacrifice isn’t necessary. I was simply arguing that we sometimes equate how hard something is with how important it is when what we should really be focusing on is how effective it is. 

The example that kicked off that post was a video from the Make My Money Matter campaign—an effort to encourage individuals and institutions to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels (and other negative, exploitative, or destructive industries) and to invest instead in renewable energy, affordable housing, and other sectors that provide a social as well as financial return on investment. 

Starring actors Lolly Adefope and Robert Webb—and borrowing just a little bit from a certain brand’s computer commercials from a few years back—the video made a rather bold claim: That moving your money has an impact several orders of magnitude higher than giving up flying, eschewing meat and switching to green energy. Now, Make My Money Matter is doubling down on this tactic, releasing an entire series of short videos with the two stars and making the broader case for ethical investing.

First up, a head-to-head contrast of the two approaches: 

Next, a look at all the nasty things our money might be fueling with a conventional pension:

Episode 3 tackles one of the biggest barriers to switching—namely the perception (mostly false) that it’s hard to make the switch: 

Episode 4 offers a call to arms for the difference we could make: 

And episode 5 revisits the original video—reasserting the claim that switching to greener and more ethical pensions is significantly more important (21 times, they claim!) than many of the usual lifestyle changes we are encouraged to partake in. 

You get the idea. 

While these aren’t exactly deep dives into the ins and outs of ethical investing—and while without seeing the methodology, we should exhibit a healthy dose of skepticism around the specific claim of “21X the impact”—the videos are still fun and light-hearted way to drive home how simple and easy some of the most important steps we can take truly are. In many ways, this is a timely topic for a few of us here at Treehugger. 

Both Treehugger design editor Lloyd Alter and I have books coming out this month. And while Alter’s exploration of living the 1.5-degree lifestyle might appear to be the polar opposite of my call for climate hypocrites to unite, there’s a theme that runs strongly through both books: We really need to focus our efforts. 

Of all the things Alter did in his experiment, he found that a very small number—flying, eating beef, driving a car, powering your home—was far and away from the most impactful. So I hope he won’t mind me offering a spoiler that one big message is simply to sweat the big stuff and don’t worry too much about the rest. 

My own message is similar—namely that the relentless focus on individual purity from some corners can lead us to get distracted from where our greatest impact lies. Rather than offering a long laundry list of dos and don’ts on climate, we would be better off providing specific, actionable, and attainable entry points that really move the needle. 

Where you keep your money is as good a place as any to start.