Back in February of 2007 Richard Branson offered a $25 million prize to anyone who can come up with a plan for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While at first glance this may seem like a noble gesture, some have questioned Branson’s sincerity. Since his airlines, railroads, and other pursuits are responsible for adding significant amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, his offer of a prize to clean it up might be seen as disingenuous. One might conclude that the offer of a prize for cleaning up the atmosphere would benefit Branson by allowing him to continue to pollute. Or, could it be that the offer of a prize was prompted by a feeling of guilt on Branson’s part? After all, Richard Branson is developing the ultimate in pointless travel, space tourism.
Richard Branson has money, lots of money, and he is involved in a variety of business enterprises. If he were sincere in his effort to do something good for the planet, he might have used the $25 million to promote projects that cut the use of fossil fuels. It makes no sense to try to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while continuing to pump it into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate. Funding wind, solar, hydro, and bio-fuel projects would have been a better use for the prize money.
Perhaps it’s wrong to be critical of someone who claims to want to do something positive for the environment, but then what has Richard Branson done to prove his sincerity? Backing up his words with actions would certainly improve Branson’s credibility. I requested an entry form for the Branson Challenge over eight weeks ago, and I’m still waiting for it. Can you blame me for my skepticism? And Al Gore, one of the contest judges, is concerned that the contest might distract people from taking more practical steps to battle global warming.
If you’re reading this Richard Branson, I suggest that you take the time to consider what a few sincere people are doing for the benefit of the planet. For example: Gary Reysa runs a website that caters to environmentally conscious do-it-yourselfers. John Abbott’s website and forum are great sources of information for those interested in environmentally-friendly alternatives to home heating. William Lord’s website describes the design and workings of his solar-powered home in Maine. These are just a few of the many folks who, at their own expense, tackle environmentally beneficial projects and share their knowledge with others. We’re doing these things now, not simply bragging about what we plan to do. In the long run we’ll do more good than all of the “rich and famous” combined.
If you’re sincere Richard Branson, why not prove it by helping to fund those of us who are involved in projects that benefit the environment? In addition to the technically-minded among us, I’m sure there are plenty of biologists who would like to use their expertise to tackle the carbon dioxide problem. Just imagine how much more we could do with a small grant from you! You’ll know that the money won’t be wasted because we’re already working on environmentally beneficial projects. Come on Richard Branson, you know you want to do it. You've pledged $3 Billion of Virgin Atlantic money to fight global warming. Let's see you back up that statement with action! Get out your checkbook and send us each a couple hundred thousand dollars. I’ll be watching my mailbox.
Thanks in advance,