3 steps to make climate action your joyful daily practice
“Mom, where are the baby boomers, where are the millennials? You can’t leave this (climate) crisis all on our shoulders … We are running out of time,” Heather White’s teenage daughter said tearfully to her at the dinner table one day in 2019. White, who has been a noted environmentalist for 20-plus years, recalled the moment during her keynote presentation at the Alltech ONE Conference (ONE). At that moment, she decided to dig into the mental health impact of the climate crisis and create an opportunity for more people to see themselves within the movement.
“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time,” White said at ONE. “Everyone is needed, and everyone is welcome. But … it’s so overwhelming, most people don’t know where to start.”
Here are the three steps you can take right now to contribute to the climate movement:
Step 1: Think beyond your age and listen
First, White argues, it is important to think about the people who created opportunity for you — someone who might no longer be here but who changed the trajectory of your life. Our ancestors were intentional in trying to create a better legacy for us, and we can become good ancestors for the next generation, too.
Now, envision that it’s 2050. What would a teenager in 2050 thank you for?
White invites everyone to listen to young people about their climate concerns and also to give them hope.
“We need to be intentional and share with them about the progress that we’ve witnessed in our lifetime so they know that change, hope and progress is not only possible, but that it is inevitable,” White asserted. “That’s on us, and that happens with conversations.”
We all have a role to play in climate change, and White helps people find the roles they were meant to play.
Step 2: Find your unique role
With two decades of environmental advocacy work and national nonprofit leadership to draw from, White wrote a book titled “One Green Thing: Discover Your Hidden Power to Help Save the Planet”. In that book, she created the Service Superpower Profile Assessment, which is similar to a personality test that you can take for free here.
“This is an assessment that asks you, ‘Who are you in service? How do you show up for the people that you love?’” White explained.
After taking the assessment, you will find yourself among the following seven service types based on which one best suits your personality and talents:
- The adventurer loves the physicality of the outdoors. They are a calculated risk taker. They love taking other people outside their comfort zone.
- The beacon is all about social justice. They are comfortable behind the podium. They are visionaries who can see what’s possible.
- The influencer is about bringing people together and connecting them.
- The philanthropist is the giver who gives their time and resources and connects other people to causes they care about.
- The sage focuses on the spiritual connection to nature and the moral case for acting on behalf of the future generation. They can break through the political divide and find common ground for people to see the bigger picture.
- The spark is the cheerleader who ignites the movement and is always ready to cheer on friends and family.
- The wonk loves science, policy, data and graphs. They can translate complex technology into solutions people can understand and rally around.
“The point of these different seven personality types in service is this idea that you don’t have to do it all,” White assured the audience at ONE. “You can manage to your strengths and contribute to the movement based on your strengths. First and foremost, it is not about perfection. It’s about progress.”
Step 3: Apply the daily practice of sustainability
Now that you know what your service superpower is, it’s time to save the world. This is where one green thing — a daily sustainability practice — comes in.
- Start by making a 21-day plan filled with activities you want to do that are fun for you and good for the planet. If you need inspiration or you’re just curious, learn more about your service superpower and matching climate actions here.
- Follow your plan for 21 days. If you need motivation, reflect on how you want to show up for the people you love, then dedicate a time on your daily schedule.
- Keep your daily habit of one green thing after the 21 days.
“Individual action shifts the culture,” White said. “You are the influencer in your community. Because the reality is (that) all the solutions to the climate crisis exist right now. What is missing is the political will. And the political will only happens when every single one of us acts every day to shift that culture.”
With her experience in lobbying for environmental policy on Capitol Hill, White advises that we must create cultural change for policy to work and for market solutions to be adopted at scale. If we all do one green thing every day, we can build a momentum to create support for change to become reality.
White left the ONE audience with this parting thought: “What will your legacy be? Because together, we can create a Planet of PlentyTM. Thirty years from now, what can we create together that will stop our future loved ones in their tracks and create a moment of breathtaking gratitude?”
To register for access to on-demand content and more from the Alltech ONE Conference, visit one.alltech.com.