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?'