From sea turtles to…solar?

When people find out that I got my master’s degree doing sea turtle conservation research, that typically prompts a “Why would you ever leave that!?” response. Don’t get me wrong – I loved researching sea turtles – it was awesome and took me to exotic locales. I got to work on beaches, on boats, and out of low-altitude airplanes. All of that was brilliant and I participated in some amazing research along the way.

I moved on because I realized that sustainability is incredibly broad. So I ventured down some new pathways. First into solar energy, where I spent four years with one of the largest privately held solar firms in the U.S. Then I pivoted into food sustainability, working with a certified humane and sustainable cattle ranch. I got to know (and learn from) an amazing network of farmers and ranchers. The more I learned about each of those industries, the more I saw how the science connected back into them.

Sustainability without science? No bueno.

The problem I’ve noticed is that there is a disconnect. Scientists publish phenomenal research every day. Industry leaders in sustainability and renewable energy bring more options to regular people all the time. But there aren’t many voices explaining how the science connects to the sustainability movement.

If we don’t understand how lifestyle choices connect to environmental realities, why would we make them? Are you really willing to opt for more expensive food or a totally different form of energy if you don’t understand what makes it different? I wouldn’t.

A New Lens is a conversation, not an explanation.

My motive with A New Lens is to connect and simplify science, sustainability, and lifestyle. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn, but also to involve the voices of other experts. My outlook (and hopefully yours, too) will evolve over time, and we’ll adjust course as that happens.

I’m all about progress, not perfection. I know that I can’t claim a 100% sustainable lifestyle – I love to travel with my wife, my favorite foods are still pizza and cheeseburgers, I’m a huge New England Patriots fan, etc. But learning how science, sustainability, and lifestyle interact can help each of us to make better choices and reduce our overall footprint. That’s what A New Lens is all about.

-Brad MacDonald