money·6 min read

Skimm Money: Big Tech Goes Green, Impact Investing, and EVs

money rule to break get rich investing
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Getty Images
Apr 22, 2022

Happy Earth Day. We talk about “saving green” all year long, but today we’re focusing on a different kind of green. Because the effects of climate change go beyond the weather. And can have major implications for your money, too. 

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Reduce, reuse, reinstate. This week, President Joe Biden restored parts of the National Environmental Policy Act, which former President Donald Trump had removed.It requires federal agencies to consider environmental impacts before breaking ground on new highways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects.Read: Your tax dollars could be put to work in more eco-friendly ways.

  • Smog check. It’s not all good news from the Biden admin. The president asked the EPA to waive the ban on summertime sales of higher-ethanol gas. The move could help lower gas prices, which AAA reports hit a national average of $4.12 a gallon yesterday. But it’s not great for the planet. Hint: The gas (aka E15) isn’t sold in warmer months because it contributes to air pollution. 

  • Broken promises. A survey of nearly 1,500 executives from various industries revealed that 58% of execs say their company is guilty of greenwashing. And the SEC is looking to crack down. With proposed new rules that would require companies to prove they’re living up to their climate pledges. And publicly-traded companies would have to disclose their climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • Cleanup crew.A group of Big Tech companies — including Google, Meta, and Shopify — have joined the payment company Stripe to spend  $925 million on carbon removal over the next eight years.The tech is still a WIP. But Stripe is already funding startups that are testing different methods. Like trapping carbon in concrete and cultivating kelp farms.

News to Wallet

Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

Earth to…everyone. The United Nations released a report that says climate change is on track to rise to dangerous levels within most people's lifetimes. And even if every nation sticks to its current pledges, it most likely won’t stop the Earth from warming 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few decades.

So what’s a person to do? There's only so much individuals can do to change the tides of climate change. But here are a couple of ideas for going green with your green:

  • Make eco-friendly swaps in your life. Because small changes can add up. Here’s how Skimm HQ’ers do it, including tips from the Skimm Money team.

  • Vote with your dollars. Note the climate pledges of the companies you shop at and invest in (hi, ESG investing). And consider keeping your money moves aligned with your values. 

PS: Wondering how climate change can affect your money? (Spoiler: Many ways.) 

Money Rule to Break

Financial Literacy Month, aka April, is dedicated to promoting financial education. And so is Skimm Money. Because the first step to building wealth and achieving financial independence is understanding how money works. That's why, this whole month, we’re talking about money rules you may have heard from the experts (or your parents)...and explaining why some rules were made to be broken.

Money Rule: You need a lot of money to invest with your values in mind.

Why You Can Break It:A little can go a long way. With apps like Ellevest and Robinhood, you can start investing with just $5. And however much you invest, you can make sure your money is going toward causes you care about. Look for companies and funds that adhere to certain environment, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Example: You may seek out companies with diverse leadership, clean production practices, or shared profits. Plus, it’s a good idea to start investing ASAP. Because time will help even your smallest investments grow into a big payoff.

Crypto, Decoded

Like any investment, cryptocurrencies come with financial risk.But they also pose an environmental risk. Because crypto mining(hint: it's all done on computers, i.e. no cave or pickaxe required) takes a lot of energy and leaves a major carbon footprint. How are people trying to fix the problem? Two ways:

  • Changing the energy source.Most crypto operations currently run on fossil fuels. But Tesla, Block (fka Square), and Blockstream are teaming up to build a bitcoin mine in Texas fueled by solar energy.Whether or not it'll help reduce crypto’s carbon footprint is TBD. Some critics say switching the energy source isn’t enough so long as miners still need exorbitant amounts of power to meet high crypto demand.

  • Reducing the energy required.Most crypto uses “proof of work” to validate transactions. Which involves a bunch of computers competing to solve an equation. And the winner earns more coins.But more coins = more work. Which requires more energy. A different way: “Proof of stake.” It’s less like a competition and more like a lottery. Your lotto ticket is your “stake” (aka some of your crypto).A bigger stake = a better shot at winning. And it takes far less energy than “proof of work.” Because there’s no equation. An algorithm randomly selects a crypto investor to win the chance to earn more coins every few minutes.

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