Hear Karen at Klimafestivalen in Oslo

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Mange spør seg: Hva kan jeg gjøre for klima? Vel det er så mye: Du kan kaste mindre mat, du kan reise kollektivt eller du kan fly mindre. Etter hvert så er vi blitt ganske gode til å finne disse små og store endringene vi kan gjøre i egne liv. Men hva om vi ønsker å gjøre en større forskjell med våre handlinger? Hvordan gjør vi det og hvordan blir vi en større del av klimaløsningen.

Enkeltindivider betyr mye, men ikke alltid slik vi tror. Det største potensialet for endring skjer når folk føler at de har en kobling til andre mennesker og når deres ideer og handlinger får en betydning for andre. Gjennom historien er det mange eksempler hvor nettopp enkeltindivider har tent gnistene til endring. Hver enkelt av oss har dette potensialet. Det er når vi stiller spørsmålstegn ved det etablerte, deler historier, inspirer andre, skaper sosiale bevegelser og ser verden på nye måter at vi blir en større del av klimaløsningen!

I dette foredraget (under Klimafestivalen §112) vil Karen O´Brien snakke om hvilke rolle vi som enkeltindivider har i det grønne skiftet.

Når: 14:00 - 14:45, 28. jan 2018
Hvor: Vinterhagen, Sentralen, Øvre Slottsgate 3, Oslo

Arrangementer er gratis og åpent for alle! Foredraget er på engelsk. Meld deg på Facebook.

Om Karen O’Brien:
Klimaforsker og professor ved Universitetet i Oslo Karen O´Brien har jobbet med klimaendringer i over 30 år og er en internasjonalt ledende ekspert på omstilling og klima. Hun er forfatter av mange bøker og vitenskapelige artikler. I 2007 fikk hun Nobels fredspris for sitt arbeid i FNs klimapanel. O´Brien er medgrunnlegger av cCHANGE og professor ved Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi, Universitetet i Oslo.

Workshop: Læreplaner 2020

I 2020 blir det endringer i læreplanene. Denne workshopen utforsker hvilke muligheter dette gir for å fokusere på bærekraftig utvikling, demokrati og medborgerskap i den videregående skolen.

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Tid: 9:30 – 15:00, fredag 2. februar 2018
Sted: Sentralen, Øvre Slottsgate 3, Oslo, 4. etasje, rom P1
Hvem: Tilpasset lærere og ledere i den videregående skolen, samt utdanningsledere

‘Bærekraftig utvikling’ og ‘demokrati og medborgerskap’ er blant temaområdene som får en framtredende plass i skolens læreplaner fra 2020. Tiden er kommet for å starte forberedelsene mot de endringene vi vet er på vei.

I denne workshopen vil vi ha fokus på innfallsvinkler som kan gi muligheter for dybdelæring innen temaområdene ‘bærekraftig utvikling’ og ‘demokrati og medborgerskap’. I fagfornyelsen vet vi at dette er blant de tverrfaglige temaene som vil bli vektlagt. Vi vil derfor ha fokus på tilnærminger som gir rom for faglig fordypning og refleksjon på tvers av fagene.

Klimaforsker og professor i samfunnsgeografi, Karen O’Brien ved Universitetet i Oslo, innleder dagen med et foredrag om klimaendringer og sosiale endringsprosesser. Workshopen vil presentere nye perspektiver på klimautfordringene og hvordan du som lærere kan hjelpe elevene å bli deltakende aktører i møte med noen av de utfordringene vi står overfor.

Under workshopen presenterer vi konkrete undervisningsopplegg. Disse kan du som lærer benytte i tilnærmingen til de fagovergripende temaene vi vet kommer i de nye læreplanene. Dette er erfaringsbaserte undervisningsopplegg som gir elevene muligheter til å analysere, løse problemer og reflektere over hvordan de selv kan delta aktivt for å skape en bærekraftig framtid.

Programmet for workshopen består av følgende tema:

  • Ny forskning om klima, bærekraftig utvikling og sosial endringsprosesser
  • Fagfornyelsen 2020: Læringsverktøy til bruk i tverrfaglig undervisning
  • Bærekraftig medborgerskap
  • Dybdelæring
  • Narrativer for en bærekraftig framtid

For mer informasjon kontakt Sigrun Brustad Nilsen (sigrun.nilsen@cchange.no)

 

Påmelding

Meld deg på her.
Pris: 1800 NOK (inkl. moms) for workshop deltagelse og lunsj.
Frist for påmelding: 29. januar 2018
Begrenset til 30 deltakere.

Om kursholderne

Karen O’Brien: Klimaforsker og professor ved Universitetet i Oslo Karen O´Brien har jobbet med klimaendringer i over 30 år og er en internasjonalt ledende ekspert på omstilling og klima. Hun er forfatter av mange bøker og vitenskapelige artikler. I 2007 fikk hun Nobels fredspris for sitt arbeid i FNs klimapanel. O´Brien er medgrunnlegger av cCHANGE og professor ved Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi, Universitetet i Oslo.

Sigrun Brustad Nilsen: Faglærer i geografi, samfunnsfag og sosiologi/sosialantropologi, Frederik II videregående skole. Sigrun har erfaring med prosjektbasert/erfaringsbasert undervisning ved Miljøforsk og er i særdeleshet opptatt av å fremme arbeidet med miljørelaterte temaer på tvers av fag i den videregående skolen.

Elin Sæther: Førsteamanuensis i samfunnsfagdidaktikk ved Institutt for lærerutdanning og skoleforskning på Universitetet i Oslo. Elin forsker på utdanning for bærekraftig utvikling både innenfor lærerutdanninga og i samarbeid med videregående skoler.

Folk High Schools Workshop

In November 2017, more than 50 inspired and committed Folk High School students and teachers from around Norway attended our workshop in Oslo.

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Norway’s Folk High Schools are often called the freest schools in the world, with students (mostly aged from 18-25 years) living on campus for a year and immersing themselves in the subject of their choice with no curriculum or exams. The year at Folk High School is about learning on a deeper level – not just academically, but also personally and socially. For these reasons, we were very excited to be invited to deliver a workshop for the Folk High School students and teachers who came to Oslo recently to participate in the Climate Smart Folk High School gathering run by the Norwegian NGO, Framtiden i våre hender (The Future in our Hands).

Over the course of the day, we explored systems change, collaboration and transformations to sustainability. Creating the bright and sustainable futures we want will require deep collaboration. Our helium sticks exercise gave participants a small glimpse into the delicate balance of focus and alignment required to collaborate on even a small task.

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When we think about making sustainable changes, we often focus on the practical sphere – what needs to be done and measured – and what visible systems and structures need to change. Our Three Spheres framework helps participants explore other powerful factors – the less visible systems (power relationships) and the values and beliefs that drive outcomes and behaviours. Participants were encouraged to think about how they could shift unsustainable practices in their own schools via our Three Spheres of Transformation group exercise.

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We also explored the surprising impacts experimenting and committing to just one small change can have on the people and environment around us and heard about A-HA moments past cCHALLENGE participants have experienced when committing to a 30-day change experiment.

We are very grateful to Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, who have provided the financial support to develop our package of cCHANGE workshops for students and teachers. Keep an eye on our website as we roll them out in the coming months!

 

How Do I Look?

Green fashion. This topic is a big one for me. I even wrote a book about it.
You ready?

My sense of style is not the same as your sense of style.
Crazy about jeans? Be my guest!
You only like to wear dresses? Good for you.
Yoga-wear is your go-to outfit? Enjoy!
You want another sweater? Buy another sweater.

Be your own style-guru and surround yourself with clothes that you love.
Okay?

Only, that is getting increasingly harder to do.
I’ve got two words for you: fast-fashion.

Without getting into all the ugly weirdness orbiting the fast-fashion industry, I want to focus on the fact that when the main goal is to sell as many outfits as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time, things like quality and craftsmanship go out the window. The decline in quality has been rapid and under the radar.

I get how using words like craftsmanship makes me sound like an old maid, but the absence of it affects our shopping habits in more ways than you can imagine.

For instance, did you know that we now buy four times as many clothes as we did a few decades ago? And did you know we only wear twenty percent of what we buy? That’s just sad. Warmed by the glow of cheap and disposable trends, we forget to check in with our minds and ask two paramount shopping questions:

-Do I like it?
-Does it fit me?

Instead, thoughts like, ‘Animal print? Why not! I can sooo pull it off. Plus, it’s crazy cheap. I would be insane not to buy it. Maybe I should buy it in blue also? Just to be safe?’ take over and rule the show.  

You think I’m making this up? Check out your own wardrobe. How many of your clothes would you have bought again today? How many of them make your heart sing? All of them? Some of them? None of them?

Green fashion.
I’m getting to the part about green fashion now.

How and where we shop affects the health of our planet. We know that. We know that pollution is bad and sustainable energy is good. But did you know just how much the clothing industry pollutes?
Two words: fast-fashion.

On the plus side, an increasing number of brands and designers are experimenting with sustainable fabrics, adopting ethical business models, and creating environmental production lines. Yay!

Yay? Well . . almost.

Before we throw ourselves at the green fashion brands, I would like to go back to the two questions posed a few moments ago:

-Do I like it?
-Does it fit me?

When I went shopping at a wonderful ethical store, I was so blinded by the fact that my new sweater was handmade by reclaimed wool that I forgot to notice that it had an unflattering boxy shape. Wearing it I looked like Mrs. Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. That would be Emily Gilmore, not Lorelai.
So.
Annoying.

On the other hand, one of my all-time favorite t-shirts is from the fast-fashion chain H&M. This crisp white t-shirt reminds me of tailgate parties, cool summer evenings, and fun conversations with my gang. It makes my heart sing.  

So, no. I don’t think the answer is to simply shift where we shop. It’s too simplistic. Naïve. I think a more sustainable solution is to look at how we shop.

Dream with me.

What if we stopped buying clothes that we sort of liked? What if we only bought clothes that we truly loved and made us feel better in our own skin? Not only would that make us look and feel awesome, but half the pollution battle would be won. Easily.
How cool would that be?

Here are some strategic questions to help you make that dream become reality. When out shopping, pause and ask yourself:

-Do I like it?
-Does it fit me?

And . . .

-Would this make my top-ten list?
-When do I see myself wearing it?
-What else could I be spend my money on?
-Do I need it?

Need is a relative term. Let’s not argue about it. It’s up to you. Besides, I’m not here to tell you what you need, I’m only inviting you to stop buying clothes you don’t like.

My own relationship with green fashion is a living organism and it keeps evolving. Here are some things I’ve tried in the past:

  1. I went a year without shopping. It was hard, but also surprisingly rewarding.
  2. Only shop from ethical stores. Ehhh, no! (See boxy sweater story above.)
  3. Only shop at expensive stores. Expensive brands is code for quality, yes? Nooooo. My Ted Baker coat made me feel like a tree-trunk. Return to Sender.
  4. Only shop at thrift stores. Well, yes! Carbon neutral! Wide selection. Money goes to a good cause. Hello! Sign me up!

The last one is actually sticking. If you want to buy fabulous clothes without ruining the planet in the process, look no further. Plus, where else can I find clothes that cater to my need to dress like Lara from Dr Zhivago AND Lara from Billions? Shopping at thrift stores is like a green treasure hunt.

So.
What do you want to do?
What will you make green fashion mean?
Whatever model you land on, remember to only buy clothes that you truly love.
Let me say that again.
Only buy clothes that you truly love.

You’ve got this!

Until next time, Inger

PS: If you want to read about my year of not shopping, you can buy your copy here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Do-Look-Stopped-Shopping-ebook/dp/B01HSKB1CK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497865777&sr=8-1&keywords=inger+kenobi
PPS: If you are wondering about the state of your wardrobe, why not do a decluttering session? Grab my free decluttering book here:
https://www.ingerkenobi.com/f

Good luck!


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'

Bringing change home

It’s a beautiful and amazing world we live in. From my desk I look out over rolling hills and a vast blue sky. Cotswold scenery. Lucky me! 

But . . . Sometimes I’m a bit envious of the generations that walked on this Earth before us. They got to truly explore, celebrate, and enjoy this planet. We get to do all of that too, I’m not saying that we don’t, but we’ve also been given the daunting task of protecting and saving it.

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. Without going into all the gory details, there is no doubt that this tragedy is the direct result of human activity. Unless we take decisive action, a bad situation will soon get a lot worse.

Statements like these can feel chilling and bleak, to put it mildly. But there is hope.

In my quest to save the world from the comfort of my own home, I invite you to help me create powerful new stories, a new narrative about this time we live in that will ensure we leave a lasting legacy we can all be proud of. 

But first, let me tell you about this wedding I attended last weekend. Picture a Jane Austen-y country church, champagne reception and dinner at an estate, and all the guests milling about in fancy outfits; morning suit, kilts, evening dresses, and those crazy hats you normally only see at Ascot. In any case, I’m standing on the lawn talking to an investment banker from London. Suddenly he tells me about his dream to become a tree-surgeon. ‘I just want to do something for the planet,’ he says. ‘I love trees. And imagining being outside all day!’

In return I tell him how I want to be like Julia Butterfly, the girl who lived in a redwood tree for almost two years. Alone. On a tiny platform. 

BANKER: Why on earth did she do that?

ME: To save it from being chopped down by loggers.

BANKER: What do you mean?  Are you saying that loggers are chopping down redwood trees? Whatever for?

ME: For money.

BANKER: Well, that’s just insane.

Not only was it great to meet a fellow tree-enthusiast, but it was fun to talk about climate change in a joyful setting without being afraid of spoiling everyone’s mood. Which we didn’t, by the way.

Now, I will probably never get to live on a platform in a redwood tree, but that’s OK because my entire home is a platform for change (see what I did there?). And that’s what I want to talk to all of you about. How to use our homes as a catalyst for positive change.

Here are some easy ways to start:

Recycle

  • Turn off the lights when not in the room
  • Take shorter showers, or shower less
  • Declutter

Let me be the first to point out that none of these initiatives are as exciting or adventurous as being out on the savanna tracking and protecting lions (another dream of mine).

But that shouldn’t stop us. And here is why. 

Decluttering, for instance, is less about becoming a minimalist and more about becoming aware of what you have and how your belongings affect you. When you walk into your home, do you feel happy, overwhelmed, excited, or bummed out by what you see? Paying attention to this feeling is step one. (Spoiler alert: most people have far more stuff than they think they do, and they use only a fraction of what they own.) Step two is weeding out all the things you no longer like/need/want. Step three, and this is the best part, is that you evolve into a master sifter and selector. Here is what I mean by that. After a few rounds of decluttering, you automatically think twice about buying more stuff. Another salad bowl? Not on my watch! 

As you take stock of what you already have, you buy less stuff, and as a result you reduced your carbon footprint. Just like that! See how easy that was? Talk about a domino effect. By tackling the small stuff, we influence the bigger picture by default. And just to point out the obvious, making changes in our homes is far easier than trying to change the entire world.

That’s why I’ve never liked (or understood) the saying, “It’s just a drop in the ocean.” That sentence is the equivalent of a shrug. It’s depressing and wrong in equal measure. 

So let’s turn it around.

‘'You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

Who said that? Rumi the poet did. He sets us straight and reminds us that it’s entirely possible that we’re not insignificant little pieces in the big scheme of things. We are the big picture, we are the entire universe. What we do matters.

Over to you. What can you do in your home? How can your daily chores pave the way for a greener future? What can you change or tweak?

Let us know, because I’m always looking for new and fun ways to improve my day-to-day footprint. Together, I know we can come up with some amazing ideas.

So long!


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'

145 students take the cCHALLENGE

Something will change in Stabekk over the next 21 days. It may pass unnoticed, but it will be significant. Why? Because Stabekk High School has decided to do something about climate change.  They have taken on the cCHALLENGE – a project that is far more powerful than it looks because it engages people directly with change. 

At Stabekk High School, 145 first-year students, their teachers and even the rector of the school have committed to make one small change in their daily lives that is related directly or indirectly to reducing the risk of climate change.  It is part of their module on sustainability, and it is part of their science, social studies and English classes.

Karen O´Brien from cCHANGE visited the school a couple of days before the challenge started to present the latest science of climate change and to explain to the students why and how they are important parts of the solutions. She pointed out that one small change can make a big difference, especially when it starts new conversations about change.

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The students have chosen a range of change experiments. Some will eat less meat, some take shorter showers, and others will avoid plastics. The rector has chosen to get better at recycling. Over the next 21 days the they will be active on Instagram, posting photos and text about their experiences. You can follow their stories on the hashtag #schallenge (short for Stabekk Challenge).

It will be exciting to follow their ups and downs, and interesting to see how they inspire and influence others -- not only friends and family, but people all over Norway (and the world?!). Not the least, we look forward to hearing their insights on change. When young people understand that they can play a key role in changing systems, watch out!

Who’s Your Role Model?

Growing up I wanted to be Jackie Kennedy. She was so completely my type. Beautiful. Talented. Resilient. Mysterious. I can’t deny that these qualities still appeal to me. But more than that, I always felt that a woman who had to bear witness to her husband’s assassination was made of stronger stuff than your average person. She chose to go on, and I liked that about her. She belonged to a completely different world than mine, which at the time meant I felt like I’d landed on the wrong planet.

None of this is important for any of you to know, except for the fact that it’s a fun introduction to the topic of role models. 

When talking about role models, it’s tempting to let names like Malala, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela roll off my tongue, making sure to pronounce each syllable loudly and clearly. Ma-la-la. Approving nods would be a given, and I would have the pleasure of coming off as a person with healthy values and fantastic role models.

However….

When it comes to role models, more specifically, when it comes to role models and the environment, I like to look beyond the usual suspects and widen the circle. The more people we include here the better. Also, we don’t have to admire everything about these people, sometimes it’s enough to single out one specific action or quality. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Sustainable Diet

What do Brigitte Bardot, Bill Clinton, and Paul McCartney have in common? They’re all vegetarians. Being vegetarian used to be linked to animal rights activists or religious people, but with challenges like a growing population and draining of natural resources, a meat free diet is increasingly becoming an important argument for sustainable living. Changing what you eat can save the world. I personally don’t eat anything that used to have a mother or a face, so I get super excited to read about fellow vegetarians. They are all my role models.

Sustainable Shopping

What do Vivienne Westwood, Emma Watson, and Livia Firth have in common? They promote sustainable fashion and shopping.

  • Vivienne Westwood said: Don’t invest in fashion, invest in the world.
  • Emma Watson said: I made a choice last year that I would only wear sustainable fashion on the red carpet. The fashion industry is the second-biggest pollutant of fresh water on the planet. It has such a huge environmental impact and such a big human impact.
  • Livia Firth said: Become an active citizen through your wardrobe.

In a world of disposable fashion and weekly trends, changing how we shop is HUGE. I admire and look up to everyone who thinks twice about buying yet another outfit they don’t need. You’re amazing!

Sustainable Tree Lovers

What do the King of Bhutan, Jadav Payeng, and Julia ‘Butterfly’ Hill have in common? They’re all tree lovers and environmental activists. The King of Bhutan has made a commitment to maintain a minimum of sixty percent of Bhutan's land area under forest cover for all time. For all time! Sixty Percent! It’s no wonder he’s been invited into the Kyoto’s Earth Hall of Fame. Jadav Payeng, aka the Michael Jordan of tree planting, has single handedly planted a 1360-acre forest. It took him thirty years. He’s still going. Julia Butterfly is famous for spending 738 days living in a 1500 year-old redwood tree. She did this to prevent loggers from cutting it down. It worked.

Considering that 150 acres of forest is lost every single minute every single day, I think that every single person who plants a single tree deserves an award and a medal. As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.’

Tree lovers are the new super heroes.

I could give you more examples, but you get the picture. Role models are everywhere. People from all walks of life are putting their personal touch on what it means to care for the environment. From the zero trash people to the owner of Tesla, collectively they represent everything that is good about this world. By drawing inspiration from their actions, there is no end to what we can accomplish. Look at what they’re doing and see where the inspiration takes you.

A word of caution

Connecting with a role model can sometimes feel like the missing piece of the puzzle. It can be a catalyst for change or a step towards a better you. You’re looking at things in a new way. You get ideas. You have a vision. You’re full of energy. You’re finally going to have an impact. It’s basically one of the best feelings in the world. But then as you take a closer look at where you are, and you compare that with all the incredible things your role model has accomplished, you suddenly feel small and insignificant.

How to move beyond that?

You move beyond that with curiosity and compassion. Even if your grand vision feels way out of reach, you’re going to be kind to yourself and say, ‘I get that I’m just starting out here. I’m new at this. Let’s see where this road takes me.’ How you talk to yourself matters. Armed with a healthy dose of self-compassion and a practice of being a really good friend to yourself, you’re going to have the ability to be open and curious. Then you go back in, and you try something new, and you make it your own.

That’s what all of our role models did. That’s what we all need to do. And before you know it, you've become the very thing you looked up to.  You've become a role model.

Until next time!

Inger


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'

How to Outsmart Plastic

In my last post, I briefly mentioned how I’ve cut my plastic consumption in half. It took me over a year, but I did it. So now people ask me, ‘How did you do that?’

How, indeed!

Before I hand over all my secrets, let’s take a brief look at what we’re dealing with here.

Plastic is like the Voldemort of the consumer world; it’s powerful, influential, and deadly. Unlike the Dark Lord though, you can’t get rid of plastic with a wand and magical spells. In fact, you can’t get rid of it at all. It never decomposes. Put simply, plastic hangs around forever and ever. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving, only in a bad way.

That’s one part of the problem. Another part of the problem is that you can’t take two steps in any direction without running into something made of plastic. It’s everywhere. Just take a look around you. What do you see? How many plastic items can you name?

Fact: every minute, one million new plastic bags are in circulation worldwide.
Fact: on a yearly basis, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of plastic water bottles.
Fact: plastic in our oceans now outnumbers sea-life six to one.

To quote Jeff Bridges, ‘When did we become such a plastic society?’

In 1907, is when. That’s when plastic got invented, and since then it has increasingly replaced natural materials like stone, wood, bone, paper, metal, glass, and ceramic.

‘But what about recycling?’ you might ask. ‘As long as we recycle our plastic, we’re doing the right thing, are we not?’

That’s what I used to believe, but recycling isn’t a sustainable solution mainly due to the fact that the Earth cannot digest plastic. This means that every single piece of plastic ever produced is still here with us today. Until NASA figures out how to transform plastic products into organic baby-food, the plastic that enters into circulation stays in circulation.

That’s a problem.

So what’s the solution?

The solution, my dear friends, is to use less. We have to wean ourselves off plastic. This is just as easy as it sounds. Here is what I did. 

Phase one: I stopped using plastic shopping bags. To me, that was the easiest place to start. Owning beautiful tote bags made this transition super easy. Nothing beats putting my groceries in my Wonder Women tote-bag, or going shopping with the tote-bag I got at the Catlin Moran lecture. Another personal favorite is my tote bag from Highgrove, the royal estate where Princess Diana used to live. My point is this: when you love your tote bag, you use it. When you hate it, you hide it (and end up using plastic bags instead). Invest in good tote bags, people.

Phase two: I decided to stop buying all fruits and vegetables that came wrapped in plastic. OK, I said it was easy, but I struggled with this one. As it turned out, only everything came wrapped in some sort of plastic monstrosity. Why, world, why? Once I dropped the frustration, I noticed the plastic-free options. Mango, melon, pineapple, to name a few. When it comes to things like onions, potatoes, and carrots, I no longer harvest them in the complimentary plastic bags provided by the grocery stores; I throw them straight into my shopping cart where they roll around, happy and free. I mean, seriously, what’s the benefit of putting two onions in a flimsy plastic bag? There isn’t any, so I don’t. You don’t have to either.

Phase three: Since plastic is a fairly recent invention, many of the things that now come with plastic didn’t use to; like olive oil. Phase three was all about choosing the non-plastic alternatives. All my cooking oils now come in glass bottles. Easy! I only buy cans or glass bottles of Coca Cola. Also easy. Mustard and ketchup? Glass bottles! When buying peanut butter, I pick the brand that comes in a glass jar. Same with things like jams, olives, and pesto. For the stuff with no non-plastic alternatives – stuff like yogurt, shampoo, cheese, pasta – I try to be mindful and not overdo it. I know this will never be perfect, but I’m getting better at scoping out the plastic-free alternatives. So can you. 

All these changes might look like a drop in the ocean. I get that. It’s not like I’ve invented solar driven planes or found a healthy alternative to clean water. But when I say to the shopping assistant, ‘No, thank you. I don’t need a bag,’ for that brief moment in time I’m doing the right thing. It’s a statement. It’s a message. It’s insane how happy this makes me.  I might never get the chance to save a child from a burning building or prevent a terrorist attack, but I do get to care for our planet. That’s amazing!  

You! What about you? Where can you cut back? Talk it over with your friends and see what you come up with. One of my friends now always carries a spoon and a fork in her hand bag. ‘I haven’t used disposable cutlery in ages!’ she tells me. ‘ And I hardly ever buy bottled water anymore!’

I know exactly how she feels. 

Whether you feel inspired to do a lot or little, please don’t be afraid to start. Start where you are. You can never know the ripple effects of your actions. Everything counts.

I’ll see you all in a few weeks!

-Inger


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'

 

How to talk about climate change?

The whole topic of climate change is so complex. The nature of the subject is truly challenging. As much as I like to focus on the encouraging aspects, not a day goes by without newspapers printing sad stories about coral reefs dying and showing us pictures of turtles entangled in plastic.  

How to be a force of positive change in that climate?

Or like one of you readers asked, ‘How do I begin to talk about climate change with my family and friends? Especially those who think it’s not big deal and/or inevitable.’

Short answer, and I say this with love: You don’t.

My worst climate change conversation ever went something like this.

Me: I just think it’s a good idea to get involved and do something, anything, before it’s too late. Climate Denier: Really? Well, I for one don’t think it matters one bit what we do. So what if the sea levels are rising? And so what if the polar bears get extinct? Throughout the history of the world, species have come and gone. Just think of the dinosaurs!
Me:  ….eh…..*Brain senses conflict and powers down. Self-preservation mode activated. I stand up and my legs led me out of the room.

The reason conversations like these are so frustrating, is because they are tainted with competition and judgment. The good people (me!) look down on those ignorant beings who don’t do their part. And likewise, those who don’t give a hoot about climate change look down on the idiotic people (me?) who waste their time thinking they can make a difference.

In my fantasy world, I’m as wise as Margaret Atwood, as funny as Amy Poehler, and as vulnerable and courageous as Brené Brown. When talking with a fellow human being who disagrees with me, I stay totally grounded and say something really cool.

In real life - in sharp contrast - I feel like I’ve been struck over the head and I stumble and falter.   

How to work around that?

I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to environmental issues, actions speak louder than words. Show, don’t tell.

This viewpoint can be hard to accept, partly because there is this unspoken rule that those of us who feel compelled to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle immediately become responsible for how other people act. Activists are leaders. Right? Before we know it, we spend more time worrying about what the others are doing (or what they are not doing) than dealing with the important issues at hand.   

But, having said that, let me try to answer this question for real. How to talk about climate change?

I think the planet is great, I love it, and I’m here to say I’m good at caring for it. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve reduced my plastic consumption in half, and I’m not afraid to talk about it. In fact, even if someone squinted their eyes, put their hands on their hips, and said in a finger-pointing tone, ‘What’s the point of that? You’re wasting your time! The damage is already done,’ I would immediately respond:

That might be true. Or it might not. But even if I can’t stop the ice caps from melting, I can at least stop myself from making it worse. Plus, I like the idea of doing my part. It might not be a lot, but it’s something – and for me it is a lot of fun. And even if I’m wrong about this, even if all my efforts turn out to be a big waste of time, it’s a chance I’m willing to take. I have nothing to lose here.

Zing!

Yeah, right! That would never happen. My brain would probably freeze and prevent me from stringing two sentences together.

Sigh.

In any case, what I want to leave you with is this.

When talking to other people about climate change, forget about defending yourself, explaining yourself, or trying to convince the other person that you’re right and they’re wrong. Simply share why you think it’s important. That’s it. Keep it simple. 

Trying to bring them over to your side will only create more friction and resistance. It’s also annoying, not to mention boring.

Share your thoughts, your curiosity, let them in on how this has lead you down a path of new discoveries. Tell them how this has made you think about things in new ways, and how you love learning about this world we live in, and how fun it is to do participate in something that is bigger than yourself.

Be passionate. Don’t judge. Don’t put people off. Don’t shame. Admit that you don’t know everything, but so what? It’s not about being an expert, it’s about being inspired into action.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yes, I’ll for sure try this tactic next time.  

Best of luck everyone, and I’ll see you all in a few weeks!

-Inger, xoxo

 

PS: If no one asks you about your green endeavours, and if this makes you feel like no one is paying attention to all the good work you’re doing, keep going. Plant your flowers and watch them grow. And don’t be scared to start a conversation about it!

PPS: If you’re surrounded by climate deniers, either at work or at home, and it’s wearing you down, why not look for inspiration on social media? Connecting with like-minded people is always a good idea. Check out the cCHALLENGE Facebook page. We would love have your onboard!

PPPS: If you’re inspired to do something, but doing it alone feels …lonely, how about teaming up with just one other person? You’re allowed to start small. In fact, I encourage it. My best-friend and I have a new ‘no more plastic straws’ alliance. It’s like our own private club. I like it!  


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'

What does climate change have to do with me?

I used to think that the best strategy for dealing with climate change was to keep it at a safe distance. My own happy life over here, thank you very much, and all the other depressing stuff over there. A clear line. Order. No interfering. That was the plan.

I can understand why I felt that way. Climate change is like an entire kingdom filled with conflicting opinions, doomsday predictions, voices, and frustrated people. Venturing into that realm reeks of trouble, like stepping over to the wrong side of the tracks. What would be the point of that?

Also, if I suddenly took a keen interest in tar sands and rising sea levels, where would it end? What would happen to me?  What would happen to Fun-Loving Inger, Book Store Inger, and Movies Inger? I'll tell you what would happen. Climate Change Inger would take over the entire scene and bring all the other Ingers down, like an annoying, out of control house guest. I honestly feared that if I allowed anything bigger than a commitment to recycling to infiltrate my world, my life as I knew it would be over.

Not that I was a totally lame. Correct. I did my part, sometimes. Also correct.

And in my defense, wasn't there a ton of other people out there, talented people, sustainable magicians, who were dying to come up with green solutions? If they were so gung-ho about saving the rainforest, who was I to stand in their way? Plus, I had a lot of other things to think about. 'Why should I have to do everything?' I thought, winningly.

So there!

Pause.

Was I being close minded? Maybe. Maybe operating from a place of maximum denial wasn't such a great plan. Hmmm. Maybe I was going about it all wrong. Maybe there was another way.

In enters cCHALLENGE.

The trick when dealing with climate change is to stop believing that you have to do everything. You don't. Start where you're at. Find something that drives you. Think outside the box. Ask questions. Experiment. That's what cCHALLENGE is all about. It's a low-key, relaxed, and fresh approach to saving the planet. And best of all, it's only for thirty days. Here we choose our own missions and we share our experiences. Everyone is welcome.

That's empowering.

Thinking that only scientists, experts, or hippies can save the planet is an outdated idea, like faded clothes on an old mannequin. I see that now. Now I want to do my part. To tell you the truth, I'm actually quite excited about it. I'm ALL IN.

Every morning I stroll over to my kitchen window and look at the gorgeous view. I really, really like this planet, and I'm grateful that I get to protect it in a way that feels meaningful to me. Thank you cCHALLENGE. Participating in the cCHALLENGE is almost like writing a little love note from me to Mother Earth. She needs all the love she can get.

That's all for now. I just wanted to say HI and get this column up and running. We'll get to know each other more as the weeks move along.

I hope every remaining hour of this week is sweet and beautiful. Take a walk. Call a friend. Read a book. Go dancing. Save the rain forest. The options are endless.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Inger


Hosted by Inger D. Kenobi, this column is here to answer all your burning questions, big and small, about whatever is on your mind about climate change. Just email askinger@cchallenge.no, and it might be answered in the next column.

Inger D. Kenobi is a life coach and the author of the book, 'How Do I Look? The Year I Stopped Shopping?'