Most of us now have a general awareness of climate change and the looming environmental crisis and feel we should take action in our own lives and within our organisations, but where do you start to tackle such a big and complex challenge?
The simultaneous scale and intricacy of sustainability issues can often leave us so confused and uncertain that we end up not acting at all.
So how do we face this big green monster and take meaningful action for the benefit of the planet and future generations?
Let’s look at some key considerations to get over your fears, get started and then to keep you moving.
The first step is to understand and connect to your own personal motivation or ‘why’ for taking action. Is there a particular beautiful natural area or species that you care about? Have you seen changes in the local environment around you? Are you worried about your children’s future?
“We draw more resilience from protecting what we love than fighting what we hate”
It’ll be different for each person but whatever your ‘why’ is, take the time to write it down, do some more research and understand the challenges and let this ‘why’ be your grounding motivation to take action even when you face complex or difficult issues.
(Bonus: make a poster, take a picture or put a note reminding you of your ‘why’
and place it somewhere visible in your workplace)
As with any big goal, it is best to break it down into sections and start with small actions to get you started.
These could be quick, easy and free changes to your daily routines & simple substitutes like changing your search engine to Ecosia who use their profits to plant trees and have planted over 120 Million trees just from people doing something they do already.
For some more ideas of where to start, check out the simple actions from my #lockdownforgood campaign.
Taking these first simple steps will get you and your team used to making change and provide further motivation to make progressively bigger changes as you see the positive impacts of your actions, knowing you are already starting to make a difference.
Focus on your ‘Area of Greatest Impact‘
Now we’ve got moving and are feeling motivated it’s time to make a big impact. As we’ve discussed that while sustainability covers a wide spectrum of issues from climate change to ocean plastic and air pollution to social issues, there are often 1 or 2 processes within each organisation that have the greatest impact on the environment. Discovering these “Areas of Greatest Impact” and exploring options to eliminate, alter or reduce them is the simplest and most effective route to create meaningful positive change.
This will be different for each organisation, but once you have completed the quick easy actions, these 1 or 2 larger challenges will have a greater impact than working on multiple medium sized goals and can help to give focus and direction to your sustainability goals, strategy and actions.
Connect & Ask others
Speaking to and connecting with others who are also trying to make positive changes in their lives and organisations can be really helpful for your own journey.
Knowing you are not alone and that there are lots of people working hard towards the same goal brings hope and positivity in the face of what can seem like such a daunting challenge.
Secondly, having others who you can relate to and share challenges, ideas and solutions to the various problems you face can help all involved, the best ideas can often come from different perspectives. As we are all aiming for the same end goal (of saving the planet) there are many people who are happy to share their experiences, advice and solutions to help.
Take time to reflect, show self compassions & keep moving
Lastly, understand that you can’t do everything at once, that some of the changes take time and that there is always more to learn, so don’t get frustrated and show some self compassion.
Recognising that the environmental crisis and taking action on sustainability is a process that evokes a number of emotions and feelings, and isn’t just another normal business arm like sales or taxes, is essential for our mental wellbeing, personal resilience and long term action.
When things get tough, take time to reflect and celebrate the positive impacts of the changes you have made and reconnect to that all important ‘why’ and you will soon find the motivation to keep moving.
I hope these tips help you get over the initial inertia that often comes at the start of a new project but especially one with so many preconceptions. Once you get stuck in you’ll find there are lots of exciting options & opportunities and that it’s much better to be on the informed & prepared side of the big green monster than hiding under the covers fearing the worst.
If you would like some extra help or motivation to face your green fears, tackle your own big green monster and get started on your sustainability journey then please reach out and connect and I’d be happy to help.