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Small steps for a healthier Earth | Purposeful Connections

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As we celebrate Earth Month, the environmental crises we all face—including rampant pollution, effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity collapse—can seem overwhelming, yet we all must do our part. Leadership studies on the psychology of habit formation and goal achievement have shown that for many who may be paralyzed by fear or fatigue, taking small steps can create empathy, energy, and the more profound levels of engagement required to surmount the challenges ahead.  

Initiating action at the individual level—whether through reducing waste, supporting renewable energy, or participating in local conservation efforts—can lead to a ripple effect, inspiring others and building a collective momentum that is both empowering and effective. As leaders, advocates, and citizens, it's our responsibility to foster a culture of sustainability and resilience, emphasizing the importance of every action, no matter how finite. By harnessing our collective power, there is still time to drive transformative change, safeguarding our planet for future generations.  

Two years ago, Johnson Outdoors launched the Clean Earth Challenge to help tackle the global waste crisis head-on and empower individuals to make a real, tangible difference in their communities. In two years, the organization has rallied its employees, other companies, students, and far-reaching stakeholders to take small steps. Together, they grew impact by more than 300% from year one and have set a goal to remove 4M pieces of nature-suffocating debris from precious ecosystems around the world. It will take more efforts like this to heal our planet. 

This Earth Month, let's commit to making incremental changes that can lead to a healthier, more sustainable world. Every journey begins with a single step. - Nicole Pironi, Associate & Kristian Merenda, Partner

🌿 Cleaning up our Earth: 2.12 billion tons of waste are produced each year. To help combat the planet’s growing waste crisis, Johnson Outdoors* created the Clean Earth Challenge to serve as a beacon of hope in the environmental crisis. Now in its third year, this movement has mobilized individuals worldwide to restore our precious lands and waterways, amassing more than 4 million pieces of trash removed since launching in 2022. This impact shows how powerful small, scalable actions can be—a testament to the power of collective effort.

*Johnson Outdoors is a CCOP client.

🏞️ Walking (or trekking) the talk: Outdoor brand Cotopaxi—known for its wildly-colored gear, some made of recycled and spare materials—believes its employees should get outside. After just 18 months at the company, Cotopaxi employees receive a $1,000 'bucket list' stipend to put toward travel, volunteer trips, and exploration. After five years at the company, employees receive another $5,000 to get outside. The program speaks not only to Cotopaxi's mission, but its investment in the wellbeing and happiness of its employees.

🌬️ Decarbonizing USA: Meet Project Cypress. This DAC—direct air capture—hub will pull 1 million tons of CO2 from the air each year. And it's an important part of a US Department of Energy strategy to make DAC mainstream—and chip away at the unfathomable 10 billion tons of CO2 that need to be removed from the atmosphere each year by mid-century. While the technology is expensive, climate leaders see it as a good investment for companies (mostly polluters) looking to offset their impact. Project Cypress is the first of four hubs to go online as part of the DoE's $3.5 billion program.

Caryl Stern, Chief Impact Officer at LionTree, shares insights from her career in diverse high-impact roles. From an inspirational upbringing shaped by her mother's Holocaust survival to her innovative work at UNICEF and Walton Family Foundation, Caryl talks about mobilizing support for causes. Listen to this episode for lessons on transitioning careers and evolving as a leader to drive change.


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