We’ve been joking around here that we’re going to be the first on our block to write solar-powered software. Maybe you have to be a Data Head to find that even a little funny.

What we’re talking about is our project to install 48 solar panels on the roof of our office. Those panels will generate over 13,000 KWh per year, about 44% of our current electrical requirements.

When I first brought this to my leadership team nearly a year ago I told them:

This doesn’t have anything to do with making the company successful (in the short term), and a reasonable person should ask why we’re distracting ourselves with this. The answer is – ‘Because it is the right thing to do.’

So why is it the right thing to do? Here are two reasons:

First, as a Data Head I look around and reach the conclusion that we have a finite supply of fossil fuels. Do the math; we’re going to run out. I first saw this lecture on doubling as a grad student in the ’80s, and I never saw the world in quite the same way again.

Second, burning these fossil fuels is making a mess of this beautiful earth of ours. Even if you’re skeptical about global warming, listen carefully to what Ray C Anderson says about “The death of birth.” Ray was the founder, CEO, and Chairman of a global carpet company when he had an epiphany:

“Unless we can make carpet sustainably, perhaps we don’t have a place in a sustainable world. But then neither does anybody else [who is] making products unsustainably.”


And even more profound:

“One day it dawned on me that the way I’ve been running Interface is the way of the plunderer… Plundering something that is not mine… Something that belongs to every creature on earth. And I said to myself, ‘The day must come when this is illegal. … Someday people like me will end up in jail.'”

I don’t fear going to jail for anything I’ve done. But find a five year old, look in her eyes and ask yourself, “What kind of world do I want her to have when she is my age?” That’s why it’s the right thing to do.

What do you think? What are the positive steps you’re taking to move to a more sustainable world. Write to me at ejmiller [at] hertzler [dot] com. I’d love to hear from you.