We should support a politics that cares for the environment. A politics of gratitude. One where we value the earth for what she gives us. Our actions should serve our environment. I believe in acts of serve being the highest form of gratitude. I believe that we serve God by caring for the earth that was given to us for without the gifts of food and water, our survival as a species would not exist.
We can help in many little ways and those actions will make a big difference. I myself ran in to a situation in 2015. It was about 4PM and I was on a conference call at work which is pretty usual for my job role. As I am listening to the call and energy portfolio was coming out for investors to invest money in to. At first I thought it was going to be about clean energy as logically innovation drives Capitalism as referenced by Adam Smith. I was mistaken, confused and began questioning a lot as I listened to this call.
The portfolio was called the Energy Renaissance Portfolio. It was comprised of fossil fuels. What was more alarming is it was going to be funding a pipeline that would go through North Dakota. It was what became known as the North Dakota Access Pipeline. It was going to be built through a Native American Reservation. At a live training I went to on this portfolio, I challenged senior management and my peers on selling this portfolio.
I specifically stated, “How can we sell this to clients at the expense of Native American Citizens? How is this even ethical or legal? How come we don’t have to disclose this to investors? How can our analyst predict 9% annual returns on this portfolio with this level of political risk?” Our Product Specialist then told me, my views were wrong. Many of my peers agreed, stating that I didn’t have enough experience in the industry to understand oil production and its profitability.
In the heat of this conversation, I went on to say, “Capitalism is build on innovation, other developed nations like Germany have already moved towards having 75% of their energy resources coming from clean sources. Other than Americans, who are well selling oil too? I believe this portfolio will lose 25%.” The entire room laughed at me and called me a hippie liberal.
A year later, that portfolio lost 25% as I predicted and the NDA protest began. I never sold that portfolio to any client and advised clients on what I believed to be true. Any behaviors that promote entropy, we have to stand up and be that faces of change, even when we are pressured. It was in that moment that I felt like my integrity was being questioned. I am proud that I stood up for my values despite the reactions of others.
I began to study what holdings were inside of the portfolio and my heart sank even more. There was one specific holding that concerned me. It was Halliburton. I knew Halliburton to be a weapons company when I was in the Marine Corps. They branded the weapons we used. I was super alarmed when I saw it. I came to realize Halliburton was an oil company who won a bid to make weapons when Dick Cheney the Board of Director for Halliburton and also Vice President to George Bush. I went on to look at the top ten individual and institutional investors. They were JPM executives. I worked for JPM. It was then I realized why my firm took a position and a story line. The leadership in this organization was profiting off of entropy, the cardinal crime of the universe.
Follow your heart, your acts of bravery may go unnoticed by others but the universe will support you. Trust your relationship with the world around you. It will guide you, through the struggles you face and be the light in a world of darkness. Let your light shine, when no one else’s. It is through our acts of courage and gratitude that we will all be protectors of our environment in our own ways.
With Universal Love,