Technology is just not being my friend these days. First last week the display on my point and shoot Canon camera died. Then that little ball that you use like a mouse on the Blackberry decided it didn’t want to roll to the left. The WiFi switch on my laptop is starting to fail. It constantly says that it has been switched to off…causing me to lose my connection. This is really annoying when you have a daily blog! What’s next? Maybe I need to go back to low tech. I could write up my daily adventures by hand, make drawings of the people I meet, get a mimeograph (now that is old school!) and make copies of everything and then mail them out to you via the post office!
Anyway, last Friday I tried to give my $10 away near Dupont Cirlce to a Hispanic woman who was carrying some bags. She just looked like she could use ten bucks, but she didn’t want to talk to me at all. She just kept saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” I tried in Spanish, but she just kept on going.
Later I found Jona (pronounced Yona) pushing a scooter over to a place to lock it up by the Metro entrance.
The 27-year-old hails from Tirana, the capital and largest city in Albania, but has been living in the US since 2000. She is a Finance Manager so she probably has some interesting opinions on my Year of Giving.
She says that she likes living in the US, but makes a point to visit Albania every year. In fact she plans to return to live there some day.
We chatted for a while. I asked her if there was anything we could help her with. She said that she herself didn’t need anything but would like for everyone to start doing their part to help conserve our environment. I asked her what specifically and she said, “Just the little things. I mean just do it. People know what the right thing to do is.” She herself was participating in a very interesting conference that day called, Creating Climate Wealth.
The two-day conference convened respected entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and corporate leaders to provide their insights and expertise on the policies, market frameworks, and programs that will clear the barriers to deliver emission reductions and promote job creation.
She said that Virgin’s Richard Branson was there launching his new venture the Carbon War Room. I found a statement from Branson on Tonic that said, “Almost 50 percent of emissions can be eliminated without adding any burdens to consumers through improved market structures and enhanced policies. Climate change solutions represent the largest wealth creating opportunity for our generation. It is also the biggest win for governments with respect to economic development, job creation, increased property values, etc.”
Jona said former Costa Rican President José Maria Figueres was on the panel with Branson and had a great comment. He was talking about how in business and our personal lives we make a plan b in case things don’t go the way we hope. “There is no planet B!” he said. Figueres was able to pass a carbon tax in Costa Rica in the 1990s! He credits this to Costa Rica having a single term presidency and not being sidetracked by re-election efforts. Commenting on the importance of carbon taxing, he went on to say, “As long as the price of a tree standing is less than the price of a tree cut for timber, we won’t save the forests.”
I wish I had known about this summit. I would have loved to have participated.
At the end of our conversation, Jona gave me the money back. She said, “I am going to give $10 of my own money to the guy who sits in front of the Johnny Rockets on Connecticut Avenue.” She asked me to use that $10 to help someone else out. I did not give it away that night.
On Sunday I saw the man she was talking about. His name is Travis. I used that extra $10 that I had to buy him dinner: Cheese Steak sandwich platter with everything on it and french fries. I let him know that Jona would be by to see him one day too.