At one-hundred years old, Jim Adamson can probably claim the title of “oldest impact investor in Canada.”
A few weeks before celebrating his 100th birthday last month, Jim made the decision to invest in Canada’s transition to a renewable energy-powered future through CoPower’s Green Bonds.
“I’ve followed the progress of the UN conferences and the alarm bells rung by the scientists and it’s gradually sunk in that this is something very serious and significant for our world.”
“When I learned that I could invest in something that fights climate change, I thought, boy, here’s something I can actually do.”
“But I’m slowing down, and one of the things that comes with getting older is you can’t participate the way you used to,” said Jim. “When I learned that I could invest in something that fights climate change, I thought, boy, here’s something I can actually do.”
Jim learned about CoPower Green Bonds through two of his daughters, Lee, a recently retired pioneer of placenta research from Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Lyn a dedicated activist and long-time leader in Canada’s climate action community, both of whom have invested with CoPower as well.
“Dad was after us about investing before the deadline, especially after reading about the geothermal and solar projects the bonds support,” said Lyn. “It was clearly important to him to be able to make a contribution like this, and it was meaningful to do it as a family.”
“It’s gradually sunk in that [climate change] is something very serious and significant for our world”
Every generation has its great challenges. Jim, a WWII veteran who specialized in aircraft radar systems, has lived through several.
Today, he sees climate change as being one of the defining issues of his time. “It will be even more so for my daughters and their children,” he said. “It’s frustrating that an issue scientists say we have just a few years to solve seems to be the furthest from our political leaders’ minds.”
Jim and his family lived "a simple, conservation-oriented life, close to nature."
According to his daughters, Jim’s style of environmentalism is to quietly lead by example. Lee calls her dad a “do-it-yourselfer."
Jim grew up on his parent's farm east of Toronto, then a rural area, driving horses and pitching hay. While he later became an engineer for CN, and after that, a math and computer science teacher, he never stopped working with his hands. “My parents committed to a simple, conservation-oriented life, close to nature. They grew their own food. Dad built our house,” said Lyn.
It was about serving others, too. For twenty years, Jim was the director of Camp NeeKauNis, a Quaker summer camp run entirely by dedicated volunteers. “Raising young people to be aware of their natural environment and how to relate to other people — that’s the contribution of the camp,” said Lyn. “Those were the values that have guided Lee and I throughout our lives.”
Four generations of family celebrating Jim Adamson's 100th birthday.
Financially speaking, Jim’s goal since retirement has been to maintain his independence and steward his modest savings for his family of five daughters, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren with number four on the way. “My first duty is toward my family members. I’m responsible for bringing them into the world and so I try to protect my capital as much as possible.”
“When I was making the investment I had to choose the length of the bond: 4-years or 6-years. I said it probably didn’t matter as I probably won’t see it mature, but that isn’t the point.”
“Even if I can’t make the biggest difference, I’m living the time I have knowing that I’m doing what I can.”
“I feel lucky to be able to participate and make this investment, and I hope others are getting on board,” said Jim. “Even if I can’t make the biggest difference, I’m living the time I have knowing that I’m doing what I can.”
And then, of course, there’s the question every centenarian gets: what’s your secret? “A simple life filled with purpose, friends and family, fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise and nature.”
Perhaps a life-long focus on what you can do for others is part of it, too.
Editor's note: Jim, Lyn and Lee invested in CoPower's third issuance of Green Bonds (Green Bond III) which is now available. This blog was solicited by CoPower and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds. Please consult the Offering Memorandum of CoPower Finance Inc. dated May 11, 2018 for all material information in respect of CoPower Finance Inc., the third issuance of CoPower Green Bonds and the terms of the offering of the third issuance of CoPower Green Bonds.