The Change Effect

Recently I have had the joy of working with a not-for-profit team who are working to inspire and catalyze leadership for a low carbon future that is smarter, better and more prosperous.

Part of the day was re-connecting the team to their purpose through a series of talks by people working in areas such as Climate Science; promoting and researching “green” business practices in large commercial entities and Social Entrepreneurship.

Suffice to say, I’ve had my eyes opened.

Much of the discussion was about the realities being imagined if the Earth warms by 1°, 2° or the disastrous scenarios (unimaginable, from my perspective) of a 4° future.

And I found myself profoundly humbled, disturbed and also… kind of energised. I realised I was in the room with people who are dedicated and committed to generate the conversations and actions needed to… well… DO SOMETHING about the current situation…. And I began to start asking more about what part I can play in that.

I had a conversation with one of the team and was saying:

“It’s all so big. There is SO much to think about. I take out my bottles and recycle everything I can. We run a woodburner and I’m an extra-jumper-no-heating girl… is that enough? Does it make a difference? At all?”

And of course, the answers were not fully yes or no.

And what I’m noticing is this:

Firstly my spectacular ability to not pay attention to something that disturbs, perturbs and alarms me (Climate Change and all that means for our sustainable future). I am astonished at just how little attention I can actually pay to something because it seems unbearable to consider– tuning out information until it’s a low-level hum that I barely notice anymore… and I’m noticing I’m not alone in that.

Secondly that I have to believe my contribution matters and behave as if I can make some sort of impact. Just as I would say to anyone within an organisation: the responsibility for what goes on around here is partly with you – you can’t opt out if you are in this system. Pretending you don’t matter or have no effect in itself absolutely has an effect.

Thirdly, The day was, for me, a massive re-affirmation of the complexity of change. Climate Change doesn’t happen in a neat and tidy way. It is unpredictable and messy. Some will argue it isn’t happening. Some will be deeply skeptical about what the authorities are offering to be “true”. Some believe it won’t affect them…. Or won’t happen on their shift, at least. Some won’t care until it directly affects their pockets or lifestyles.

And then there are the some who embrace that something is happening and fight to ensure the future is a better one, despite or maybe even because of, the changes that are afoot. Some people are positive, relentlessly active, striving to be creative and inventive to adapt and respond to their circumstances.

As a Consultant working in organisations, I can’t help seeing the parallels, that this global experience is so clearly also our local one.

I guess I’m left with the same sense about the global situation as I have about working with people and organisations. I believe small actions can make a big difference. I believe conversations and connections allow new possibilities to open up. I believe change doesn’t happen in huge conferences or across Board tables, but the need for change gets highlighted here. I believe that the voices of skeptics are vital to spur on the actions of the advocates. I believe apathy is dangerous and also inevitable.

I believe one afternoon, listening to 3 different perspectives in a room filled with committed and action-oriented people has made me read more carefully and pay more attention to what is actually happening around me.

The Change Effect? It’s that simple…