With corporate social responsibility and the "less bad" initiatives of corporations crowding today's sustainable business headlines, it's not every day you get a story like this.
It's the story of a hugely successful David vs. Goliath Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign fighting against Xcel Energy's efforts to help undermine localized power in Boulder, CO, with what opponents are calling a misleading and disingenuous ballot initiative.
Yes, that's Xcel Energy, regarded as one of the most progressive energy utilities in the United States. The same investor-owned utility that, according to grassroots group New Era Colorado Foundation, is unable or unwilling to do what their municipal energy utility will do to phase out the high levels of coal power production linked to CO2 emissions, and subsequently climate change.
Although a large part of Boulder's localized alternative energy is planned as natural gas, which also creates CO2 emissions, New Era Colorado insists their municipal utility would still have about half of the fossil fuels Xcel Energy is planning in its energy portfolio for the next 25 years. Most importantly, more successful models for municipal power could take root in other cities across the country, placing additional power production back in the hands of the communities consuming it.
Perhaps their Indiegogo campaign video tells the story best:
The headline from an Upworthy article (or should I say video re-post) that helped spread the news – "A Bunch Of Young Geniuses Just Made A Corrupt Corporation Freak Out Big Time" – seemed better fitted for a student-run high school paper. But that did not seem to matter. The campaign had more than tripled its goal with two weeks left.
To be sure, some important cheerleaders are taking note.The news was widely posted on social media channels, including by friend of Sustainable Industries, Hunter Lovins.
Xcel Energy supplies electric power and natural gas service in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Slideshow photo by Let Ideas Compete.