Serious about the health of your business? What if you gave your people what they may not realise they’re crying out for – purposeful engagement with their planet. And encouragement for your sustainability champions that they are not alone.
Nobody makes new year resolutions. It’s just a very tired media twitch, isn’t it?
Or did you vow to recover from Christmas Beige Shock and eat only raw broccoli for January? A post new year changing room mirror can elicit this response – standing in the harsh downlight of reality by the swimwear spinner – but shame has very shallow roots.
Back to work, I wonder whether this is the time for some true resolve.
Natural England’s People & Nature Survey, published last summer, supported the idea that more of us are going looking for nature to help our all round health since Covid; “68% of people said they were taking more time to notice and engage with every day nature” it said. I know I say hello to birds a lot more than I did – I couldn’t have identified a Stonechat a couple of years ago, though I am a long way from the full twitcher.
A significant problem with any wish to unplug from algorithmic life regularly is finding access to the great outdoors. It’s a mental health challenge we will all be bringing to work, of course, but at a deeper level I’m actually wondering this:
If some bracing blustery January walks begin to help our all-over wellbeing, might we feel increasingly open to sense what nature is trying to say to us?
Environmental news org Edie published some general findings from its readers about new year resolutions – specifically for their work as environmental professionals – and it’s an interesting temperature test for what’s going on out in the cultural weather.
Sustainability champions may have even more reason to be weary after Christmas than the rest of us. They’re trying to defend the right to opportunity for everyone – the opportunity to live well and build all sorts of positive things together for people and planet futures. Not just survive pandemics, politics and appalling poorly paid essential jobs.
The challenge to their hopes is the same thing challenging all our mental health – economics. We’re part of climate and nature, and both are in crisis because of the way we value everything. By turning everything into empty numbers.
What we humans need to face challenges well is fuller hearts.
This isn’t something we leave at home when traveling to work. And work and home have never been more blurred in our minds.
None of which is helped by billionaire UK chancellor vowing to force young people to study maths right into A-level. Not a hint of understanding – while also passing legislation to reduce people’s protesting and striking rights – that young people will need creative tools and senses better tuned to the natural world to re-imagine a world so wildly fucked up. The skills to imagine, test and embody change.
The current maths does not add up. And current leaders have not been truly running the numbers of the consequences.
But if you’re a leader, where are the clues about what to do instead?
I’d say be sure that everyone is getting more sensitive to the smell of bullshit.
But if you’re sensing the need for greater resolve about changing up your response to your world, I’d suggest Edie’s findings align perfectly with what climate communicators and creatives like me are wanting to help people with.
It’s time to get practically real about new vision – for the year and coming years. Do you know what you want your work to stand for in an era of crisis and change?
I’ll say this: Imagination is liberated by new experiences. And new experiences can put resolve into the heart.
Sustainability champions are trying to keep you in business – by challenging you to consider: What is the nature of it? And in it.
They will want you to explore nature-based solutions more deeply to get actively net-positive while upskilling your people in the process to live that brand consciously in their context – the context of a planet with lifesystems crying out for a change of values in how we do business. Businesses populated with people who are part of those lifesystems and part of a culture struggling to find the language for new stories of us. But people who are – you bet, like you – feeling something of nature’s call to action.
Defending the bottom line will take more than truthful accountancy. It will take storytellers and creatives to bring alive the alternatives – including where to start.
The time to go beyond risk management and face what needs changing is now – but this is the real opportunity for your work and your life doing that work: To start getting excited about the possibilities. And move into living them.
It’s time you went looking for the people who can help you take new steps – and strengthen your resolve to do so.
Photo by Veikko Venemies on Unsplash.