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April 22, 2016
Category: From The 20th Floor
From Just in Case To Just in Time: Celebrating Earth Day
Hello Friday and Happy Earth Day! In celebration of Earth Day, we have decided to briefly share the story of how one son helped transform a father's perception on the environment and the ripple effect it has had on Nicole Miller, The Rocky Mountain Institute, Carbon War Room, and the world.
"Eric Konheim was an avid river runner, recycler, and non-conformist who lived life true to his environmental beliefs. He lived frugally, saving up money so he could spend time on the rivers he loved. When he tragically died in a kayaking accident at age 28 in 1991, his family discovered tens of thousands of dollars hidden in his pillow. Those funds, he had written in a will, were to be bequeathed to Rocky Mountain Institute."
Eric's father, Bud Konheim is our CEO. Bud realized how strongly Eric felt about the environment and the work RMI was doing. “Eric was very passionate about the environment,” according to Bud... One day in the late 1980s, Eric told Bud about RMI, expressing that he found an environmental organization that was not fighting business, but works with businesses to make them greener and more profitable.
After Eric’s death, Bud worked with RMI to create the Eric Konheim Memorial Fund as a memorial to Eric and everything he was passionate about. “I was devastated, but I tried to take the positive from his life, his environmental passion and desire to be an architect, and carry it on through this fund.” Twenty-three years later, Bud and Nicole Miller are still carrying on Eric’s support for RMI and spread RMI’s work throughout their networks in the fashion industry and the world."
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Keely Henderson and Meg Cayler of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room (CWR). Here are highlights from our in-showroom Q&A session:
What qualities of the organization drew both of you into working for RMI and CWR?
Climate is an issue that is going to define the time we live in because if we do not fix it, nothing else that we do matters. We can not fix poverty without looking at energy. We can not fix many ecological issues in societies without looking at energy. Climate is the weave that underlines the fabric of our lives.
RMI and and CWR are incredibly poised in taking a business positive approach and getting the work done. We make a difference by taking a strategic standpoint to work with people to improve efficiency and the overall bottom-line when it comes to tackling climate change in the long run.
How is RMI's change model different than other organizations in the environmental and climate change space?
Everything comes down to us wanting to build a safe and secure world. Each of the people on the RMI team have either joined the company or changed their careers to contribute to the renewable solutions process.
One of our mobility programs works with cities to help figure out how to efficiently get from point A to point B. When you think about cars in the United States, they remain unused 90% of the time. This is due to the fact that we have an approach to automobiles and transport that is just in case. what if I need my car? What if I have to drive? What if I want to go on a road-trip? We have looked at the overall mobility of how we drive cars and decided to ask what if we switch to just in time transportation? This is the typical RMI story... looking at the bigger picture, asking the right questions, and then building comprehensive yet sustainable solutions.
How has the merger of RMI and CWR impacted the capabilities of the organization?
The merger of RMI and CWR go well together. We have the think side and we also now have this disruptive get in there and shake the market up methodology towards opening doors to making mobility programs possible. Imagine cities full of community solar energy instead of parking lots full of "what if scenarios". For instance, we are starting with one city like Austin. Austin's incredible commitment to technology and sheer amount of urbanization makes it a great pilot city to work hand and hand with officials, corporations, non-profits, communities, and community developers. We are coming up with a scalable model there that could potentially roll out to every city. Every city is capable of transforming how we get from point A to point B.
What is the most important thing you want our readers to know about RMI?
We are always excited to work with Nicole Miller and have the opportunity to share our work with your network. Everyone is taking an interest in where there energy, food, and clothes come from, which has promoted transparency in storytelling and actions. RMI is right in the center of it. We have to make sure the systems in place are aligned with the most efficient resources and the most cutting edge ideas so that we can increase the resiliency of individuals, corporations, cities, societies, and the world together.
How can our readers become a supporter of your organization?