Corporations Could Be the Best Weapon in Combating Climate Change

An essay by Nicola Peill-Moelter (Caltech PhD ’97), Director of Sustainability Innovation at VMware.
Dec 20, 2018 3:25 PM ET

There is a popular, long-held notion that business and the environment are at odds. That conservation is a fight against capitalism and its rabid thirst for profits is at the expense of the environment. That commerce is an unstoppable force that must be reined in for the sake of the future of the planet.

As a lifelong environmentalist, I get that. 

I grew up in a small, rural village, 100 miles northwest of New York City—close to but really a world away from the urban environment. I was raised in an environmentally conscious household, appreciating my natural surroundings, conserving water and energy, and recycling and composting long before those practices were commonplace.

Those values stayed with me. After getting a chemical engineering degree and taking a job in the field, I decided to merge my passion for the environment with my profession. I headed to Caltech to earn a doctorate in environmental engineering science, wanting to address the world’s most pressing challenges by getting ahead of them, rather than fixing the damage after it was done. 

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