Brian Reynolds likes a challenge. He’s always felt that he needed to solve difficult problems. What better (and tougher) cause to try to make a dent in than climate change? This was a departure for him. Brian’s family background was in manufacturing but he chose to go a different route—sustainable energy. It allowed him to be in a place where public policy and private industry work together to solve the world’s energy issues.
“I think the thing that draws me to the work is the scale of the problem,” he said. “I don’t find much satisfaction in life working on problems that don’t actually mean much in the macro sense.” His consultancy, Climate|Money|Policy, advises and lobbies in the area of climate, carbon and sustainability. The clients range from small companies to small island nations.
So what challenging problem is Brian working on these days? Oh you know, just helping to solve climate effects in small island developing states by working with the United Nations, that’s all. Ambitious, right?
“These small nations have been marginalized when it comes to having their voices heard in global climate talks. This is a real crime. The first and the most profound impacts of climate are directed at them,” Brian said.
Think of the problem this way. The entire island nation of Kiribati, located 1,250 miles south of Hawaii, is slowly sinking below the waves of the Pacific Ocean. The nation is so small and poor that it’s getting lost in the shuffle of climate change talks. So what do you do if your home is sinking into the sea? Kiribati, with a population of just over 100,000 people, is moving.
Yes, you heard correctly. The nation is buying land in Fiji, 3,460 miles away, and planning to abandon its homeland. This is why Brian is passionate about helping nations like these.
“It’s the goal of my work to get these guys in a position of strength in global climate negotiations despite their small populations and economics,” he said. “That work is time consuming and happens one conversation at a time, but the more people I talk to the more it appears we’re making progress.”
Brian will be speaking at TEDxNavesink 2015: Accelerators. His talk, “The Race: Climate Change vs. Smart Money” will focus on the shift that will define the rest of the century. That is the race between the heating of the planet and the marketplace of businesses in our global economy. These businesses, once enemies of climate action, are now advocating for solutions to the climate crisis. Brian will ask the audience of TEDxNavesink, which of these forces is moving faster and who will win the climate change race.
“The public isn’t getting a good sense for what’s happening relative to climate and who is leading the big efforts globally,” Brian said. “That’s the conversation I have every day and it’s an idea worth spreading.”
Brian’s goal for this talk is for people to walk away better informed and able to see how climate issues are impacting their daily lives, especially as it relates to their wallets. “I’ll have done my job if people are in the lobby of the reception talking about what they can do now that actually has an impact,” he said. “TEDx is such a big platform, for all the wonderful things it’s given to me I really just want to do the brand proud.”
“TEDxNavesink was a happy discovery I made walking out of a Red Bank restaurant when I noticed the TED logo splashed on the cover of a newspaper,” he said. “I’ve been following the conference basically from the beginning, but this was the first time I thought I had something to offer that fit the theme, so I contacted the curators. I’d like to think I’ve made a big splash in my industry, but TED & TEDx really let you speak to a wider audience, one I’d never connect with. That’s exciting!”
Want to hear more of what Brian has to say about climate change and society? Get your tickets for TEDxNavesink 2015 here! Hurry, they’re going quickly!
Interested in reading more about climate change and Brian’s work? Check out his blog at www.climatemoneypolicy.com.
Stephanie Eichmeyer is a content production and marketing specialist for the TEDxNavesink team. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication from Monmouth University. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in journalism and PR for many years.