Andrea T Edwards

12 things we can ALL do to reduce our impact on the environment and more

I’ve been sharing tons of information this year – my own, as well as working with other legends who care as much as I do – because we are all driven to make a difference, and to help others see the role we can ALL play to start addressing the climate emergency.

Why should we be concerned? Well check out these two articles.

Scientists watch giant ‘doomsday’ glacier in Antarctica with concern tks Kevin Cottam

The ‘doomsday’ glacier is on the brink of collapse

Impact could be two-feet of sea level rise in the next 3-5 years! How would an increase like this hit you? Your family? Your community?

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and been part of the bigger message. A big shout out to Susanna Hasenoehrl, Tim Wade, Joanne Flinn, Michelle Mouille, Kevin Cottam, Tim Hamons, Anupama Singal, Marianna Pascal, Phillipa Edwards, Simone De Haas, Joe Augustin and Steve Johnson, as well as all of the guests who’ve joined The Know Show – super appreciative of the support. Thank you, together we can achieve more.

Equally thank you Samantha Gayfer, for editing our words from podcasts and designing templates I can use easily – examples below. And my extended team, Priscilla Joseph my amazing friend and virtual assistant, as well as Arewa Lanre, my design legend.

So let’s get stuck into this blog.

The number one question I always get is: but what can I do about it?

I’ve worked hard to answer that question this year, and I’d love to know if you’ve adopted anything I/we have shared? It would be nice to hear we’ve made a difference.

I know many believe individual action doesn’t matter, but when billions do it, it really does. Equally, when we demand better from the companies who serve us, they change in alignment with us, their customers.

I beg you, do not underestimate the power of our collective action. The truth is, we’ve let this emergency go too far, and from all I’m seeing and reading, billions of us acting is our BEST chance for the future. In fact, I think it’s the only way we can address this crisis.

Us, all doing our part and encouraging everyone we know to do it too. This includes voting in leaders committed to fighting the climate crisis.

Governments will never be able to legislate us out of this, especially if the majority of us are not seeing and agreeing on what needs to be done. Politicians won’t change until they know it means they won’t get re-elected. Another view is to look at how the pandemic is going, especially in countries deeply divided politically? It’s a mess, right?

We can’t afford this division when it comes to dealing with the climate emergency. We will have no chance!

So while the climate is politicized, we have a huge challenge to overcome and a lot of work to do. We need to help the majority understand this crisis, regardless of political affiliations – before it’s too late. We also need to get the world ready in advance, not when the human crisis starts. This is not an easy path, but we need you on it with us.

Equally, businesses are moving too slowly, so if we change, they will be forced to change. Believe me, we have ALL the power here and it’s time to claim it! If everyone changes how they live in the world, looking at the impact their life has on the planet, we will start to see great momentum build.

But we were still too few

One of the things I shared recently, is this video. This is my mission now – to help us all see our role in overcoming the bigger challenge. I’m super proud of this video and hope you can spend a few minutes watching it.

I’ve had some feedback from friends and I really want to address it.

  • I listen to and value all feedback, however, we each give our view based on who we are and what we care about, so for anyone struggling in the content space, be true to your message first and know not everyone will like it. As I say in my book Uncommon Courage: not everything is for everyone – so what works for one, may not work for another
  • Some said it’s too long – one of my biggest missions is to help people understand it’s critical to spend time with information that matters, rather than getting distracted by nonsense and shiny things. As such, I will never create content to appeal to short attention spans, as I refuse to play into the attention economy. Heck I’ve rarely written a blog below 2,000 words, and I’ve been doing that for more than a decade
  • When it comes to the whole message about the attention economy (your audience only has two minutes attention, write shorter content if you want readers, etc…) I say no! I can’t stand these “rules”, not to mention the sameness of everything being released – ugh, totally turns me off. If it doesn’t stand out and it isn’t unique, I’m rarely interested in paying attention. Too much sameness makes it bland. Don’t be bland
  • I know I’m not alone in this thinking, and it’s part of the reason we are where we are in the world today. We’re not spending time with information that matters! We are too distracted. Short and sweet, no depth, no meaning, just noise. Important information is never short and sweet. It’s critical we change this. We’ve had our eye off the ball for too long, and look where it’s gotten us?

Do you see the irony?

The irony of all of this is obvious. How do I get people to pay attention if I don’t appeal to the attention span of today’s audiences?

Well I stick at it for more than a decade, slowly earning the right to the attention of people who care about what I am saying. It’s slow, hard and often makes me want to give up, but there’s another important aspect to this.

I am trying to show the world another way of participating, so I can’t use the short cuts, tips and tricks recommended to succeed, because then I am not sitting in my deep integrity.

But if I can succeed – even if it takes a lifetime – I can demonstrate that there is another way to participate and make a difference, hopefully encouraging more to join me, so we can collectively demonstrate social media’s enormous power and change it from where it is today.  

I take my social media contribution seriously and my commitment is to always share information that I believe is worthy of your attention – whether it’s my own content or others. I’m not always going to get it right, but it’s always my bigger goal when I do show up on social media.

Because social media is a powerful force for good

I absolutely believe social media is a critical tool in the fight for a live-able future for all of us, so we must use it well. However, no matter how hard I try, I will fail, but I’ll always try to be better and worthy. We will all fail at this. It’s part of the journey. However…

To be a social leader, it’s about understanding that we are in the business of earning people’s time – so what we share must be worthy of our audience’s attention.

Equally, we are in the business of earning and keeping our audiences trust. Another thing to take seriously. So easy to lose trust

Finally, the message in this video is in its first iteration. I know it will evolve from here, because it’s at the core of my mission – to wake people up to the crisis we are facing and to help us all see our individual role in it. If you don’t like this format, maybe you’ll like the next iteration, but it still won’t be short 😊.

So that’s all I’m attempting to do. My best. 

12 things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment

Let’s start with this fact. We do not need to save the world, we need to save the live-ability of the planet for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. And we need to do it now, otherwise immense suffering will be unleashed. I will not stop fighting for this. I cannot look my children in the eye if I don’t fight all the way. They deserve it too. 

So the scene is set, it’s time to get stuck into these 12 ideas – which I’ve shared individually and I’m now putting all together in one place for easy sharing/referencing. I absolutely promise you – when you start cleaning up your life, it brings great joy, and we all need a little more joy in our lives right now. So it’s really a win-win!

By the way, from what I’m seeing, the ladies are leading this on the home front, so if you’re a heterosexual man, join with your lady in taking action in the home and how you live in the world. Pass this blog onto her too. She might take some inspiration. 

1 We buy less stuff

We buy less stuff! Yes, this is something we must all start to acknowledge. It’s time to shop more consciously and really ask the question – what is the impact to the environment of what I plan to buy? We work harder to understand that and we have keen eyes for #Greenwashing.

We have turned a blind eye to human suffering in the supply chain and the environmental degradation of our shopping habits for far too long – let’s draw a line in the sand and move forward, walking the earth with gentler steps.

#UncommonCourage

2 We eat less meat

Some people will go to their death beds kicking and screaming about their right to eat meat, and to them I say, you do you! For the rest of us who are open to change and reducing our impact on the earth, reducing our meat consumption – especially red meat – will contribute to methane reduction and less deforestation, because we don’t just eat it, it’s used for our clothes, bags, shoes, pet food, and so much more!

Have you started increasing your vegetarian meals? Have you tried vegan? I’ve got a vegan chickpea curry recipe I like and there’s more recipes linked to this one that look great too.

If we all do our part, and reduce our impact, we start to make a difference and drive change. Make sure you share the recipes you’re trying that you love on social media and you might inspire someone else to give it a go.

#UncommonCourage

3 We support local

We support local is something we can all be better at, versus going the “easy” path of supporting the big brands, but it’s more than that. Air flown from Japan or China or Australia, or wherever is the other side of the world for you, is a thing of the past. We are committed to reducing the steps between farm and table, because we know that the total emissions of what we eat needs to be factored into our buying decisions.

#UncommonCourage

4 We say no to plastic

Honestly, if we can all start just saying no, as well as never leaving home unprepared (we take shopping bags, a water bottle, cutlery if we need it, etc…) we can make a difference. If billions of us commit, real change is possible.

The waste crisis is overwhelming our world, more so in the developing world, where I live. It’s atrocious what we are allowing to happen. Our children have never seen clean water or beaches. We cannot continue the way we are going. We must address this and it starts with all of us.

#UncommonCourage

5 We love rot

I started composting three years ago and I definitely don’t love it, but I do love the fact that practically nothing in my home is going to landfill or the incinerator, where it releases methane. Between 6-8% of global methane emissions come from our personal rubbish habits. Equally, up to 60% of rubbish in landfills is organic material – food waste, paper, cardboard, etc…. If we can all work to divert this from our rubbish tips, not only will we massively reduce the amount of waste to be dealt with, but we will also reduce global methane – and if we can reduce methane, we give humanity more time to fix our climate.

Hot tip – if you’re in an apartment building or villa complex, get the community together and invest in a composting solution. This is something we can all do! So will you start loving your rot?

#UncommonCourage

6 We save energy

Inequality is a huge challenge to factor in if we have any chance of reducing the impact of the climate crisis. The poorest in the world need energy to improve their lives, and in order for that to happen, those of us in the wealthiest countries need to reduce our energy consumption significantly.

We also need to make sure the poorest don’t to take on the burden of the cost of increases in energy pricing – which is already happening – because this is what will cause war, desperation and extreme suffering. It’s a complex challenge.

Of course, we need an energy revolution, because energy is always at the core of transformation and the reason humanity takes huge leaps forward. However, the last big transformation is what caused the crisis we are now facing, and the burden of this crisis cannot be left with those who did not create it or benefit from it.

As an individual we do our part. We save energy everywhere we can. We understand energy in all its forms, and even though our individual action feels too small to make a difference, we get the bigger message of collective impact.

#UncommonCourage

7 We drive community change

One of the most powerful tools we have is community. The biggest changes we’re seeing around the world happen when communities come together to drive real change. It’s not top down, it’s bottom up, and it’s a powerful force – something I experienced myself since the pandemic began.

When you gather all of the passionate people together – those who want to see real change happening and are energized to be part of that change – well collectively, it’s amazing what you can achieve. Don’t go it alone. Start with your family, then your street or apartment block, then keep expanding it out, always with your eyes open for other change makers you can partner with, support, encourage and learn from. It ripples out from there.

Community is key in the fight for our collective future. Get recruiting and keep an eye out for the legends in your community.

#UncommonCourage

8 We co-create the circular economy

The circular economy, it’s not really happening, is it? The truth is, the work is all on us, and many who live in countries with recycling programs believe it’s going where it needs to go, but it isn’t. It’s ending up in the world’s oceans and rivers, or in landfills in far-off lands, after being dumped in poorer countries. The evidence is all around.

What can we do – send it back – addressed to the circular economy department. Hot tip, put an FAO to the managing director in the country you’re based in and if you don’t know the name, do a search on LinkedIn. You’ll find it. Oh and don’t put a return address. It is time for them to work out how we deal with our waste crisis and to create products that exist in a circular economy.

White goods, tech, consumer products… start collecting what you use and then send it back, so we co-create the circular economy, by forcing brands to take it seriously. We’ve got a long way to go, but if millions of us did this, you never know, we might just make it happen!

#UncommonCourage

9 We share

We ALL know how bad social media is, because that’s a constant message in the media and on social media. But when you focus on the good – the ability for all of the great people to rise and share their voice, the democratization of information, and so much more, this is not a tool we want to lose. Definitely not in our interest.

When it comes to the climate emergency, it’s a powerful tool in the fight. By sharing knowledge, our opinions on the climate emergency, as well as what we’re doing to change our lives, we can inspire others to take steps in the fight for our future. This is truly an opportunity to create seismic change. So if you care about the climate, own your voice, step up, share, inspire others and let’s create ripples that drive greater change.

#UncommonCourage

10 We speak up

Are you scared to take a stand for what you believe in? Terrified of the potential backlash or criticism? I beg you, it’s time to put those fears aside and step into your voice. Because we know, in today’s complex world, that we must speak up and use our voice to drive change in the world. We do it for our children and all children. We do it for those suffering the most. We do it for the environment.

We overcome our fears and add our voice to the chorus for change, because we know we are powerful, our voice is powerful and future generations are banking on us using it! Unlock your throat, set it free.

#UncommonCourage

11 We reject shame

Feeling ashamed of ourselves, or shaming others in a world not set up to be green, is not going to help us achieve massive change. Besides, when did shame ever drive anything great?

It’s impossible to be perfect right now and we have to work SO MUCH harder to avoid the unsustainable choices on offer. This means, all we can do is our best. Oh and always remember to share the changes you’re making with your community and online, so you can inspire others. It works I promise!

#UncommonCourage

12 We celebrate consciously

When I could go home to Australia for Christmas, I used to go to the main shopping malls and would often find a spot to sit, so I could watch the absolute frenzy going on everywhere I looked. Panic, desperation and very little joy. I would watch it, wondering – would we ever get the message? Would we one day see our part in this global crisis?

All celebrations have waste, but for me Christmas matters, because that’s part of my culture. I recommend everyone looks up waste around any major annual celebration that’s important to you. It’s pretty enlightening and frightening.

Christmas is regularly referred to as ‘the world’s greatest annual environmental disaster’, and to provide a sense of scale, just for Christmas

1.    Australia (population 25+ million) unwraps 50,000 trees/year in Christmas paper

2.    The UK (population 68 million) throws away 114,000 tons of plastic packaging/year

3.    In Europe (population 742 million) 20% of Christmas food is wasted

4.    And the US (population 331 million) according to Stanford: Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about one million extra tons per week! If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet!

Let’s celebrate consciously. Let’s remember what it’s about.

#UncommonCourage

The Podcasts on Uncommon Courage relevant to this discussion

  1. Ladies, it’s time to claim our space in the world
  2. Are you worried about the impact of climate change on your kid’s future?
  3. How can we be more courageous?
  4. Humanity, humility and accepting our collective shame
  5. 45 ideas to inspire you to reduce your impact on the environment
  6. 22 lifestyle changes we can all make to contribute to a better world

Some blogs to dig into if reading is your passion

  1. Are you actively and financially supporting the media that matters?
  2. Cop26 is done – anything to be excited about?
  3. 40 ideas you can adopt OR influence to drive substantial change in your community or business
  4. 22 lifestyle changes you can make to contribute to a better world. Instalment one: a focus on food
  5. 22 lifestyle changes you can make which contribute to a better world, instalment two: navigating our plastic problem
  6. 22 lifestyle changes you can make to contribute to a better world instalment three: spreading the word and mindful travel
  7. Great news, climate change is not going to cause human extinction
  8. Just another case of marketing really screwing women and children
  9. CEOs have been called to lead, we all have – Edelman Trust Barometer
  10. Don’t forget my annual collection of climate reference materials – Environment and climate crisis reference materials and articles 2021 – constantly updating

Time to get moving

What a great use of the holiday season, to work out where we can all start making deep changes in our lives. The best part, you’ll love it – because it really does bring great joy. But it’s a process and it takes time. Go easy on yourself. The important part is getting started.

Do let me know your ideas and what you’re doing? Remember to share on social media too, so we can inspire others to join us and walk our beautiful earth with gentler steps.

Cheers

Andrea

Uncommon Courage – my new book – is available

You can buy it on AmazonApple BooksBarnes & Noble, Book DepositoryBooktopia, SmashwordsKobo, Gardners, Odilo and Scribd.

You can read the reviews, including a five-star review on ReaderViews, an excellent one on Booklife, Book Commentary, and another on BlueInk Review. I’m collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.

Come and join the conversation in my new Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.

Uncommon Courage by Andrea T Edwards

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