Climate change is a hot topic.
Challenge yourself to positively affect climate change. It’s imperative.
From the Global United Nations Environment Outlook Report to the Green New Deal, the topic is front and center — and for good reason. However, the subject is so overwhelming that a certain paralysis sets in. A mindset of ‘someone else needs to tackle that, I need to make sure my business keeps on running’ prevails. But as a leader you have a vital role and a responsibility to model, provoke, and lead. Ecology seems to be the 300-pound gorilla no one on the senior leadership team wants to address. I might be overemphasizing, but I am also trying to make a point.
What new environmental challenges do you and your team want to tackle? What new habits are you considering? Let the following list inspire you and others around you to change it up. And, as you implement things, marvel at what opportunities present themselves along the way. So, here we go:
Challenges 1 – 30
1. Spend time in nature — today. Establish a baseline and then up your game.
2. Travel consciously. Five minutes, five hours, five days.
3. Do an ecology brain dump daily. Write, sketch, tell someone, whatever it takes.
4. Work out daily, preferably outdoors. Familiar with the 7-minute-work out? Don’t tell me you don’t have time.
5. Reflect daily, in silence, uninterrupted. Pick your most favorite spot outside and ask yourself what have you learned from being there?
6. Express gratitude to nature daily. Thank you.
7. Work on something larger than yourself. Hmmm, what could that be?
8. Let go of something — stuff, relationships, beliefs, maybe a habit? Keep the environment front and center.
9. Do something for the first time. Maybe volunteer for an environmental cause or picking up trash?
10. Fundraise on behalf of others who are already impacting nature positively.
11. Mentor someone who has the potential to be a leader in climate change.
12. Put yourself first (remember the lesson of the oxygen mask on a plane). You can’t serve others if you are not well. Breathe!
13. Shut down all your electronic devices for a day. That’s right!
14. Ban electronics from the bedroom for good. I know, it’s not the trend.
15. Create a sanctuary for yourself. At the park, on the lawn, so you can look at the clouds?
16. Create a meaningful nature ritual. Maybe a morning routine? Or a monthly gathering?
17. Uphold tradition. What did you used to do as a kid? It helps us to feel grounded in a fast-changing world.
18. Listen to music that birds provide. Or that leaves make in the wind. Or that seals make on the pier.
19. Read a book about the environment. Or two. Or three. Or …
20. Learn about history. What did your neighborhood used to look like? What are you curious about?
21. Discover your ancestry. What was it like to live during their times?
22. Mend your wardrobe. What would feel like an upgrade?
23. Improve your appearance. Grow a beard. Shave a beard …
24. Drink less alcohol, fly less, do something less.
25. Reduce your intake of what you are addicted to. Try a whole 30 days without sugar altogether?
26. Eat less meat. Vegetables anyone?
27. Learn to grow vegetables. Herbs by the kitchen sink?
28. Cook more. A lot more. What’s your favorite food? Learn how to make it.
29. Save money every day. By cooking more, eating out less, skipping your latte?
30 Have an emergency plan. What five things would you take with you if you had to evacuate right now?
Challenges 31 – 60
31. Have a will. Or a living trust. Something.
32. Practice acts of kindness. Frequently.
33. Give people the benefit of the doubt. They are just trying to make it work like you.
34. Improve your environment. Rearrange, beautify, clear the air.
35. Be a good team player. Be a better team player.
36. Be an environmentally conscious leader. Be a great leader.
37. Role model good behavior. It starts with kindness.
38. Find your voice. What are you here to do?
39. Pay it forward. Always.
40. Enjoy the moment. Maybe by photographing a flower every day?
41. Do as you say (keep your promises), practice what you preach. Not so easy.
42. Have a morning routine. Mine takes two hours. Yours?
43. Find a challenge for yourself. A stretch, which will make you feel alive once accomplished. [ Link to my challenges]
44. Think about others and reach out to them. Even if they don’t.
45. Stay informed. But don’t let it distract you.
46. Watch less TV/movies/streaming YouTube videos etc.
47. Turn your computer off once a day, every day.
48. Make a food from scratch — ice cream, maybe chocolate?
49. Find plastic-free floss and floss daily. Dental health is a great indicator of your entire health.
50. Recycle something and research where it ends up.
51. Reuse and upcycle something that would have ended up in the landfill or in the ocean.
52. Repurpose something, make it fun!
53. Save an animal, they could use our help as well.
54. Save a child. Consider charity: water.
55. Find a picture of nature you love and display it. What does it mean to you?
56. Sit outside and paint/sketch something just for fun.
57. Discover a new artist who inspires you.
58. Visit a museum and be inspired. Get there by public transport or walk.
59. Visit an attraction in your neighborhood.
60. Walk somewhere you would normally drive or ride to. Discover.
Challenges 61 – 90
61. Hang a new picture at home or at work.
62. Meet an artist. Learn about his process. Where does he find inspiration?
63. Meet an engineer. Learn about her process. What is meaningful?
64. Meet a public servant in the environment area. Learn about the process of serving.
65. Have a different kind of conversation. How? Just ask a question you haven’t asked before. What’s the dream you’ve never shared?
66. Volunteer. Somewhere. Anywhere. Preferably benefitting nature.
67. Sponsor on Kiva.
68. Go on a bike ride somewhere you have never ridden before.
69. Play a game, a different one. Wingspan anyone?
70. Learn about a craft. Beer brewing maybe?
71. Engage in a DIY project. Have you worked with a 3D printer yet? Or bookbinding?
72. Check email only 2x/day. You can do it.
73. Learn about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining.
74. Close all your apps once a day. Every day.
75. Treat yourself to silence.
76. Go swimming.
77. Climb to the top of something. Marvel at the different perspective.
78. Go underwater. Again, different perspective.
79. Grow something. Hmmm.
80. Plant something. And then keep it alive.
81. Write a poem.
82. Pick up trash on a 30-minute walk.
83. Read one of the classics. Take your pick.
84. Visit a homeless camp. Really?
85. Engage with a homeless person. What’s the story?
86. Learn about the ocean. Magical. [Monterey Bay Aquarium]
87. Drink plenty of water. More than you think you need to. Appreciate.
88. Go for a week without putting on a watch or looking at a clock. Now, that’s a challenge.
89. Have a conversation with someone about what the environment means to them.
90. Upgrade your vision by asking a stranger about the environment. Yes you can.
Challenges 91 – 101
91. Reach out to a local politician and ask them about their carbon footprint. Not so scary, is it?
92. Illuminate something. By entering a room or maybe by simply turning on a light. Or turning one off.
93. Go camping.
94. Sleep a night under the stars.
95. Taste something you have never tasted before.
96. Try a new …
97. Touch something new. A slug? Eeeww.
98. Speak publicly about your environmental contributions — positive and negative.
99. Dance to your heart’s content.
100. Run like a cheetah.
101. Fly like an eagle.
Don’t just read these action items and ignore them. Challenge yourself to pick one, 30, all 101, and keep track of them. Remember, last year is over. You are starting this list from scratch right now. Keep track on your calendar or a notebook. And most importantly, let me know what inspired you the most to take action. By making the declaration, you are committing. Only with commitment will you take action and lead yourself and others more consciously. Much success!