In the second article in this series I looked at first of the five criteria for a Just Cause – it must be “For Something.” In this article I’ll look at the second of the five criteria – it must be “Inclusive.” So what does Simon say about this criteria and how does it fit within the context of clean, affordable, reliable, and safe electricity as a Just Cause?

Simon defines inclusive as “open to all those who like to contribute.” He points out that we all like to feel that we are part of something and that we belong. In Simon’s own words:

  • “A Just Cause serves as an invitation to join others in advancing a cause bigger than ourselves. When the words of the Just Cause help us imagine a positive, specific, alternative vision of the future, it stirs something inside us that makes us want to raise our hand to join up and join in.”

When’s the last time you were stirred to the point of raising your hand and joining up? I’m sorry to say that it’s all too rare for me…but it happened a few weeks ago. I go to a church (Hope Community Church in Raleigh, NC) that has a heart for its local community. For a number of years the church provided school supplies not just for under-resourced students in the community but for teachers as well so they wouldn’t have to take money out of their own pockets to buy supplies for their classrooms. Last year the church donated 5 tons of school supplies and almost $50,000 in gift cards for the teachers to buy the things they needed but that weren’t donated.

Back in August, Mike Lee (Hope’s founding pastor) reminded us that for many parents, school supplies were the least of their concerns for the upcoming school year. Mike challenged the church to take our empty campuses throughout the Triangle and transform them into virtual learning centers. He had a vision for it to be a free of charge, needs-based program focused on single parent homes and on families where both parents must work outside of the home. A month later, after an incredible amount of work by the church staff and a lot of volunteers, the Project Classroom Learning Centers opened. One of the local TV stations did a story about it and you can find that here: Triangle church transforms into free virtual learning centers.

Mike’s positive, specific, alternative vision of the future stirred me and I raised my hand to join in. My background has been checked, my paperwork is on file, my training is complete, and I’m ready to help wherever and whenever I can.

The fact that it’s free is great. But even better it’s inclusive. It’s open to anyone with children in Wake County public schools. You don’t have to be a member of Hope…in fact you don’t even have to go to any church. It’s truly open to all.

Turning back to the Just Cause of providing clean, affordable, reliable, and safe electricity to every human being on the planet, how do you inspire people to (as Simon puts it) “…offer our ideas, our time, our experience, our hands, anything that may help advance the new vision of the future it articulates?”

How about rallying around goal #7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – Affordable and Clean Energy? The UN’s website for this goal includes some sobering statistics:

  • 13% of the global population still lacks access to modern electricity
  • 3 billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating
  • Indoor air pollution from using combustible fuels for household energy caused 4.3 million deaths in 2012, with women and girls accounting for 6 out of every 10 of these

In a style Simon Sinek would love, the Goal 7 targets are stated in affirmative and optimistic terms:

  • Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • Expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programs of support

As I write this (September 24) it’s day 7 in Ideagen’s 17 Days of Sustainability in which one Sustainable Development Goal per day is highlighted. If you’re not familiar with Ideagen, their mission is to create a platform for cross-sector collaboration by the world’s leading brands, companies, NGOs, and public sector entities. By strengthening connections and fostering communication, it is designed to highlight the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on a global stage, and bring together leaders and luminaries, artists and athletes to accelerate innovation and solutions to many of the world’s most vexing issues.

Earlier this afternoon I watched Heather Lux, a Strategic Account Director from Microsoft, talk with Katherine Neebe, Duke Energy’s VP of National Engagement and Strategy and Chief Sustainability Officer, talk about Sustainable Development Goal 7.

I thought for a minute that Simon Sinek had written the script for the conversation between Heather and Katherine. According to Heather, everyone has a role to play in the challenge of amplifying and accelerating the efforts around affordable and clean energy – whether it’s in their life as a consumer…or in their role in the community…or in the workforce…or as a student. Katherine enthusiastically agreed with Heather and said that if the event was being held in an auditorium she would be standing up cheering loudly. So would Simon Sinek if he was there.

Katherine inspired me with several quotes which will fit perfectly in the next article in this series. She clearly has an infinite mindset.

Take a few minutes to watch the video and I think you’ll agree that Heather Lux and Katherine Neebe will help you imagine a positive, specific, alternative vision of the future that is inclusive and open for all who want to contribute. If my hand wasn’t already up it would be now.