Impactfully No. 77: Open Skies

Boeing's latest 737 MAX incident reopens a conversation about safety culture, and the FDA makes a landmark decision in memory care.

Impactfully No. 77: Open Skies
Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

If you ever felt anxious about getting on a plane, the latest 737 MAX incident did little to put you at ease. We discuss safety cultures and how we should be setting higher standards in other areas of American life where death is far more likely. If you want to get paid to plant trees on a massive scale, the job of the week is sure to satisfy. We also share a resource to extend your MLK Day of Service year-round with a unique volunteer platform designed for pro bono support. Let's get into it!

~ Greg

What we're reading

Surely you've heard about the 737 MAX aircraft that was forced to make an emergency landing after part of the fuselage blew out. It rightfully caught the media's attention and our own, but why? Axios notes that safety lapses lead to significantly more deaths in other areas, but we are uniquely unforgiving when it comes to aviation safety. (Axios)

  • I think some of that stems from two things: a crash is visceral, and it happens so infrequently as to make it newsworthy when it does.
  • In the context of social impact, I think the operative question is this: why don't we apply those same standards to other industries? Why isn't one death "one death too many" elsewhere?
  • I'm reminded of Vision Zero, which is an effort to eliminate traffic deaths being adopted in cities across the U.S. Here's Portland's take for example. Instead of asking how to reduce deaths, it asks what it would take to eliminate them.
  • No doubt, Boeing and its suppliers need to improve their standards. Maybe it's time others did as well?

A few weeks ago, I shared an article about early detection of Parkinson's disease and how that could enable new treatments in the future. Now, the FDA has approved a product from Darmiyan that uses AI to detect cognitive decline. The hope is that it could lead to earlier application of Alzheimer's treatments. (Engadget)

  • This kind of product is what I hoped we'd see with the emergence of AI.
  • Don't get me wrong: generative AI can do some remarkable things in record time. But what gets me excited is AI applied to problems that are difficult and time-consuming for people to solve, not AI that makes me more efficient.
  • If you're looking for another example, check out ClimateAi, which uses AI to help the agriculture industry adapt to the impacts of climate change, among other applications. They're hiring, by the way: see below.

Job of the week

If you think the world could stand to be a bit greener, you'll love this opportunity to combine environmental justice and urban forestry at the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

They are hiring their first ever Environmental Justice Program Manager to lead a small team and implement a new Environmental Justice Fund program starting in 2024. The fund itself is secured for four years with similar work expected to continue into the future.

One of their other forestry programs, the Urban Trees Program, is responsible for planting 500,000 trees in underserved communities. That's a lot of trees! If the Lorax spoke for that many trees, he'd need a lozenge.

Community roundup

  • The Intermountain Power Agency is replacing a coal-fired power plant with one powered by hydrogen, but what really sets it apart is the hydrogen storage method: an underground cavern as deep as the Empire State Building is tall. (NYT)
  • The next time you're in New York's SoHo neighborhood, stop by a new Climate Museum that draws attention to climate justice. (ABC News)
  • You probably know that people make purchases aligned to their values. Apparently they're investing that way as well: 60% of millennials are using impact investing strategies to build their portfolios. (Entrepreneur)
  • Forbes has released a list of social impact trends to look out for in 2024, like ethical application of artificial intelligence, partnerships between for profit and nonprofit companies, and stricter regulations around sustainability metrics. (Forbes)
  • Hertz is selling a significant portion of its electric vehicle fleet, primarily Tesla Model 3s. If you don't mind purchasing a vehicle that was used as a rental car, some of them can be purchased well below $20k with a used vehicle EV tax credit. (Electrek)
  • A new study explores the benefits of using electric propulsion to shuttle probes to Mars. Doing so could reduce the amount of chemical propellants used and save $30 million. (
  • The number of blood donors has dropped by 40% over the last two decades. The Red Cross cites fewer blood drives and changing eligibility requirements as two reasons for shortfalls. (NPR)
  • The Consumer Electronics Show was last week, which is a huge trade show for emerging consumer technology. One of the Innovation Award winners was a smart mirror that is designed to improve mental health by offering affirmations, guided mediations, and light therapy. (ZDNET)

Hot job opportunities

Hiring for mission-driven talent? Post a job for free on our job board.

Looking for a job? Submit your resume to our talent pool, and let social impact companies come to you.

Upcoming events

Thursday, Feb. 1

  • Policy Advocacy 101. Online. 12:00 - 1:00 PM Mountain. This online session teaches people about how to influence legislation in Colorado so you can make your voice heard on the causes you care about.

Tuesday, Jun. 4 - Wednesday, Jun. 5

  • Social Innovation Summit. Chicago, IL. This two-day conference has attracted top speakers in the past. I'm including it this week because their early bird pricing ends in January; this is an expensive conference, so that pricing definitely helps if you plan to attend.

Want to highlight an upcoming event in the newsletter? Send me the details.

Resource of the week

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is designated as a National Day of Service? If you're looking to get more involved in your community this year, might I recommend Catchafire: it's a platform connecting pro bono support to nonprofits.

They post projects with which they need help, and volunteers select projects that match their skills – from business strategy and marketing to IT and design. Some of their projects are as small as a one-hour consult, so it's easy get involved with any time commitment.

Catchafire is hiring as well if you'd like to contribute to their mission of connecting people with purpose – hey, that sounds familiar.

Test your knowledge

Last week, I posed a question about the digital divide: that's the gap between the haves and the have nots when it comes to internet service and communications technology more generally. Did you connect immediately, or were you still buffering?

Here's a new question for you this week:

As noted above, more investors are seeking to invest in companies that make social and environmental impact a key facet of their business strategy. Besides "impact investing," there's a separate, three-letter investing strategy used to screen for these kinds of companies. What is it?

Email me your guess, and I'll send one lucky winner a couple of One Work stickers!

I will be traveling on an Alaska Airlines flight in two weeks and plan to sit in the aisle seat. You can find me on LinkedIn and Threads.

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Jamie Larson