Be the change you want to see in the world

This blog entry shares a post I recently published on LinkedIn titled “Individual steps to help safeguard our planet for humanity’s future”.

I thought this topic may be of interest to my personal blog followers on the important and timely topic of sustainability of our beautiful planet and individual steps we can take to make a collective difference.

Some of these ideas were summed up and brought to life recently in an Oprah Super Soul conversation with Kathy Freston ‘The 8 Pillars of Wellness”.

Oprah opens sharing Gandhi’s attributed quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and her and Kathy discuss how we can all have courage of our own conviction, lean in to upgrade our ways and turn into what makes us feel dark which I do in this post ….

As many of you may have been, I was shaken when I read a summary of the latest Climate Change report on the damage to our beautiful planet that’s been done. In this BBC article ‘Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ it outlines the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures and how off track we are keep that rise under 1.5 degrees.

Articles such as these are becoming more common sharing the extent of our consumption over the last 50 years in particular and its adverse effect on our planet. I found this article published recently by the Guardian particularly harrowing ‘Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds’ :

“We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF. “If there was a 60% decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.”

“This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” he said. “This is actually now jeopardising the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

“We are rapidly running out of time,” said Prof Johan Rockström, a global sustainability expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “Only by addressing both ecosystems and climate do we stand a chance of safeguarding a stable planet for humanity’s future on Earth.”

I’ve had growing awareness around this issue and now am inspired to make some compassionate changes. I feel I can’t read these articles and do nothing. As a mum of two young boys I have felt a real awakening about the impact for future generations and am keen to take steps to help the big global effort of making a difference.


So where to start?

It’s easy to think our individual efforts don’t make much difference, but as my good family friend Myza says, “If we shift the mindset of “but what can I do? One person can’t make a difference” to “What can I do? Because I can make a difference” then it becomes the voice of one to a voice of a collective”

A recent David Attenborough Blue Planet 2 episode shared him saying “The actions of any one of us may seem trivial and to have no effect, but the knowledge that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who are doing the same thing, that really does have an effect.”

In a recent Oprah Super Soul Conversations with Julia Roberts ‘Daring and Vulnerable Part 2’ they discuss tackling big world problems like the family border separation in the US. Julia shares she tries not to get caught up with where to start as that can be paralysing, she says “Every little tiny bit makes a difference, every conversation makes a difference”.And that with all the places she gets to go and people she gets to meet she can start a conversation and see what other people think / are doing.

Here’s a list the BBC article I referenced before shared on what we can do as individuals:

  • buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter and more locally sourced seasonal food – and throw less of it away
  • drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances (great to see examples like this Bosch subsidiary Coup e-scooter sharing system in Berlin)
  • take trains and buses instead of planes
  • use videoconferencing instead of business travel
  • use a washing line instead of a tumble dryer
  • insulate homes
  • demand low carbon in every consumer product

To make our individual contributions, my husband and I have committed to go meat free, reduce dairy consumption and be even more mindful of walking short distances, using public transport versus the car and drying washing on the line versus using the tumble dryer.

The more voices on this crucial subject I think the better. It’s great to see a lot of high profile business men and women continuing / ramping up their quests to help save the planet.

Vegan meat investor Bill Gates recently said ““If all the cattle in the world joined together to start their own country, they would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” – read more here

In May this year, women leaders came together to fight against climate change led by Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change – read more here

Sir Richard Branson who was recently in Sydney has been leading a Virgin Atlantic initiate to remove ingredients deemed unsustainable such as beef, unsustainable palm oil and soy from in-flight menus on flights the UK, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as part of a partnership with the non-profit organisation the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) Read more here

More locally, a lot of leaders in our International CEO Forum too are helping lead their corporations global sustainability and corporate responsibility programs and we’re looking to create a forum to share initiatives on our program next year to create a supportive environment for those with a shared vision for our future.

As an optimist, I’m inspired by the individual changes I’m seeing happen around us and am empowered to take some individual accountability. As my husband says ‘don’t bring me a problem, bring me solutions’. Let’s accept the situation we’re in and craft solutions together.

Would love to hear what others are doing and any thoughts / reflections on this big topic where individual’s actions are required to make a collective difference.

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