You can no longer escape the fact that our planet is in dire need of rehabilitation. Information and data are circulating in the media, on your social feeds, and even at the dinner table. This is a global crisis that feels much too cumbersome to tackle. So where do we begin?
Straight to the source
First we must uncover the essence of the issue before we begin to formulate a solution. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that human behavior lies at the root of this challenge. Once we can accept this, we can focus on different ways in which we can solve these problems, all while keeping human behaviors and patterns at the forefront of our thought process. “An average person needs to see and hear about climate change at least 80 times a month to support climate action.” If an individual must see and hear about climate change this often, the messaging must be inviting, engaging and inspirational or it will be lost on the over-stimulated minds of the audience.
Yvon Chouinard, founder and previous owner of Patagonia, is a shining example of how you can always make an impact. His early life was quite humble, focusing on his passion for rock climbing. In an effort to save money and enhance his equipment he decided to teach himself blacksmithing to make his own tools. This led to multiple business ventures, most notably his decision to create the Patagonia clothing brand in 1970. Environmental activism was always at the core of his business model. In 1984 Patagonia’s on-site cafeteria offered mostly healthy, vegetarian options. In 2022, Chouinard donated the $3 billion business to a trust which will ensure profits are used to combat climate change. He’s taught us all that every little bit counts—and you never know when a passion project could bloom into a global change agent.
Educating and communicating
Climate literacy and clear communication must start with climate change leaders and changemakers. In the spirit of education, let’s take a minute to examine what we actually mean by these terms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines a climate-literate person as one who “understands the essential principles of Earth system governing climate patterns; knows how to gather information about climate and weather, and how to distinguish credible from non-credible sources on the subject; communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way; communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way.”
Changemakers are individuals taking creative actions and utilizing their resources to solve social and environmental problems. One powerful changemaker today is Greta Thunburg, climate and environmental activist. At the age of 15 Greta began to make noise, calling out world leaders and challenging them to make immediate change to mitigate the current climate crisis.
In addition to changemakers, it is critical for those in global leadership positions to utilize their platforms to ensure audiences are receiving accurate information to inform their own actions and contributions to the cause. While we all cannot (and might not want to) be changemakers or global leaders, we can certainly do our part to inform and inspire those around us.
The amount of information (and disinformation) we receive on a daily basis is overwhelming. Now more than ever cultural sensitivity and awareness is critical to those in charge of communicating, whether it be to an audience of 5 or 5M. People are watching and listening, and holding organizations accountable. Clear communication and proper action labels make it simple for individuals to identify relevant choices, which lead to actions they can realistically incorporate into their daily routine.
The importance of joy
You’ve done your research and you feel like you have the resources and education needed to take action. There are infinite possibilities, and finding what works best for you can be challenging.
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Marine Biologist and founder of the Ocean Collectiv, wants people to start their journey by simply thinking about what brings them joy. Her Venn diagram focuses on things you are good at, the work that needs to be done, and most importantly, what brings you joy or satisfaction. “There is so much work to be done. Please do not choose something that makes you miserable. This is the long haul. So it’s critical to avoid burnout. Choose things that enliven you.” The goal is for people to live and breathe within the heart of their individual Venn diagram for as much of their life as possible to make a real impact. The more you care about the actions you are taking the easier it will be to create new habits and shift lifestyles that can theoretically last a lifetime.
Be useful, make an impact
We understand that as individuals we cannot curtail climate change. We also understand that as a collective we can make an impact and contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet. JouleBug promotes mindfulness within everyday habits so that your organization can prove how small changes lead to big results. These results continue to drive progress and we believe that it’s extremely important to understand the actual impact made by the contributor.
Assuming a set of particular circumstances, a North Carolina State University team has carefully researched commonly completed actions and established an estimated impact for each action. We pride ourselves on transparency. All of our calculations, documentation, and resources can be viewed here. This is our roadmap. We welcome you to take a look around and raise your hand if you have any questions. One of our continued growth goals will allow for us to get even more granular and show how specific actions impact different regions around the world.
At JouleBug we commit ourselves to driving this initiative forward as we engage individuals, organizations, and communities to take action in their daily lives.