Practice what you preach Sustainability is close to my heart. For some time now I have been trying to integrate the Practice what you preach principle into my own life in my humble way. Not long ago I saw the documentary A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough and realized that I can no longer suppress the fact that there are environmental problems, that the rain forest is increasingly disappearing and that our livestock population is enormous etc etc. But what can I do about it myself in concrete terms?
Making a start Recently I bought an electric car. This has all kinds of advantages (including tax) but also disadvantages. Now that I have the car, I also notice that I need to plan my day better and more consciously. Preferably no more than two appointments a day because that gives you more peace in your working day and much less stress. You need to know where the charging stations are, factor in charging time and sometimes an appointment via Zoom or Google Meet will do. But awareness, taking action and changing your ingrained patterns. Of course that doesn't happen overnight. My energy supplier claims to supply green electricity, but how can I be sure? Ideally, I would also like to have solar panels on my roof. So that is the next step. And I want to be truly circular in charging my car on green energy. That's another big investment. Am I prepared to make that investment and what will it get me? Then there is the problem of the batteries, what do you do with them when they are written off? And then the question of what to do with my shares? Only let them pay off in responsible and sustainable funds with perhaps less return in the short term, but a better future for my children and grandchildren? My personal transition and my contribution to sustainability also raise new questions for me again and again.
But what are the ´drivers´ for a real transition? Opening the door to real change all starts with Awareness, not for nothing the first word of my company name.
Real change has five steps in which each step is important; you start by giving attention to something, then you become aware of something. That is actually the word awareness and then you become conscious. If you have taken these three steps, only then can you take responsibility for it and turn it into concrete actions. Because when do people change? There are only 2 flavors: by an ambition or by a felt pain. An ambition can be that a company really wants to grow in a sustainable way. Or you have felt pain, for example you run into the fact that your MT does not function optimally and therefore there are many subcutaneous conflicts between employees in that company. As individuals, we also only change if we really want something, if the benefits are greater than we experience the disadvantages, or if we are bothered by something. Otherwise we simply don't change. Our brains are like that anyway; we actually do the things we do routinely. That costs us the least energy and so it is in our system that is purely biologically determined from the principle of survival. In the past you didn't always have food and drink as a matter of course, so you have to be as frugal as possible with your energy. And that's why we hold on to familiar patterns, because that costs us the least energy, driven by our urge to survive.
Impact Driving, flying, eating dairy and meat has the most impact on our carbon footprint I understand. By consciously choosing what you eat you can reduce your climate impact by half. This can be done by replacing meat with nuts and/or legumes. Yes, of course, also separate waste and also the sustainable clothing, sustainable flowers, sustainable food etcetera. For myself, I have set, I want to tackle three important things and thought to myself you could start with electric driving and you could eat less meat, more often meat substitutes or no meat at all. Meanwhile, a pattern of change is beginning to emerge in my life. I must say, I like it! I am also in favor of doing something with flying, for example, that you pay extra for it. As far as I am concerned, you may fly as many times a year. If you fly more, you will be taxed extra. And I would also urge the lobby, KLM and other airlines, to make the transition and fly more sustainably with other fuels. Recently, Dick Benschop, director of Schiphol, was questioned in Buitenhof newspaper about his plans for a more sustainable Schiphol. It seems a good idea to me to tackle this at the source.
What are you doing? The question is to me; is our ambition and / or pain now big enough to actually realize a sustainable future? There seems to be enough social support, but decisiveness? Moreover, if you decide to start small, not everyone can just buy an electric car, solar panels or a heat pump. But you have to make a start somewhere. Make a first step, be creative, do what is feasible in your situation and start with yourself. I am genuinely glad I took the step for myself. What are you doing...? Let me know because I am curious about first step that is possible in your (working) life. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org