Hey Coach Ponyling!
Climate change was, and is, stressing me out.
I spent a lot of time behind the scenes being anxious, but then I got tired of sitting around in a puddle of blergh.
So, I decided to do SOMETHING.
In this case, that something was consulting people smarter than myself – hi! YOU! – for ideas about how we, as coaches, could use our coaching skills to have a positive impact on climate change.
I simply wanted to start a conversation, because sometimes starting is the hardest step.
I put no other boundaries on this question to my community of coaches (we are well over 10,000 strong. Join us here!), and boy did you guys rise to the challenge.
So, here is what I heard from you – in answer to this question:
How can we as coaches tackle climate change? How can we bring some goodness around this topic to the world?
We got an overwhelming response from the Coach Pony community (you guys are awesome!). And rather than sit on them, I decided to stop wasting time and simply just share what we heard. Because the volume of responses was so high, we can’t share all of the ideas or responses we received, but this is meant to be a non-overwhelming start.
Some answers are more general to just being human, some are more focused on being coaches. Either way, they all bring something to the table. So read the following with the spirit of being a coach, which means with the focus on opportunity, not judgement, and see what ideas are sparked in you.
If something is useful to you – awesome, take it! If not, that’s okay – leave it. All I want to do is continue the conversation and keep sharing ideas.
So with that, here’s what you said:
I have just come across a book that helped me a lot with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness around the whole gigantic topic of climate change.
It is by Mary DeMocker and is called “The Parents Guide to Climate Revolution” – 100 Ways to Build a Fossil Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Even though it is a book supposedly for parents…there are so many good ideas in it for all types of people, not just parents. I made four pages front and back of notes of resources to look up online, books and actions to take. Many of the ideas are playful, artistic and ultra creative in terms of how to communicate how much we love the planet and how much we can do to turn the tide on the climate crisis. Hopelessness is one of the main tools to keep us stunned and immobile. This book helped me so much to become more hopeful and see what actions I could take.
I was inspired by this email and it’s been sitting in my head, to know how to reach out with something do-able and worthwhile that, as coaches, we can all work on. I was inspired by an idea today!
If you haven’t seen the video below (link attached) – it’s totally worth 3.5 minutes of your time…it will explain the spark of the idea. It’s more than Greta saying we need to take action. It’s a solution. Simple. Do-able. Hopeful. all three on a massive scale.
It spurs me to think that my we could all link up, to help ‘protect’ and ‘restore’ by ‘fund’-raising, Either with % of income or by events. The funds raised could support the planting of trees around the world – either where each of us live or elsewhere. (You’ll get the protect, restore and fund, when you watch the video).
Thanks for reaching out re: this very important issue! As I’ve pondered your email over the past few days, the thing that keeps coming up for me is the sense of helplessness that climate change can create. The issue is so big, so widespread, and so extreme — it’s easy to feel like there’s no way that any of us, as individuals, can make a difference. Add to that (for me at least) fear for the increased issues my kids and future grandkids will see in their lifetimes, and it’s very easy to see myself getting sucked into level 1 & 2 (I’m an iPEC trained coach ) space.
I’m a firm believer in energy attracting like energy so I know that, even though I’m trying to “do my part,” my feelings of overwhelm around climate change are contributing to the negative energy surrounding the issue. I think it would be really beneficial if there was a way to help everyone who’s doing their small part to share and celebrate their contributions, so that we could shift the mindset (and the energy) from “how can we ever tackle this expansive challenge?” to “look at the steps that are being taken to address this!”
There are obviously lots of initiatives that could be taken to address climate change in specific ways. My suggestion is to concurrently do something that would foster a spirit of gratitude – for the earth, for the resources we still have, for the fact that there are so many people who care and who are making a positive impact, for the technology provides access to information and allows us to connect to like-minded people, etc. I think this could help people to see opportunities rather than challenges.
Thanks for your email about climate change! It’s so timely that you are sending this out! One of my passions is around this topic! I totally get that feeling of anxiety–it’s our beautiful planet and things aren’t looking good! There is no planet B!
A little background…back in February, I went to a Climate Reality conference hosted by Al Gore. https://www.
The U.S. is far behind in all this due to our current administration and the influence of oil and auto industries. (unfortunately)
You’re asking a great question, and I think one answer is talking about it in a way that doesn’t make people shut down, but also makes it clear that there is a sense of urgency. We need to do something now. We don’t have years and years. We learned strategies to hold these difficult conversations, and I’m more than willing to share what I learned. The list of things we can do or not do in our daily life helps for sure (the stuff you mentioned) and if every individual did these, it would have a huge impact! There will be lifestyle changes!
Getting everyone to research and vote for candidates in every state (those that are supporting sustainability) in our own country is SO important. We need more public participation. There are things that these candidates can change and things they can do that we cannot.
1) I’d love to do a group event on Zoom (that I’m happy to co-lead or give support) and do a large group visualization to hold a more positive vision and help folks deal with their anxiety and feel more powerful around it
2) I’d love to start a campaign to get everyone (coaches) to start planting trees in their own community! Al Gore and scientists said that trees remove carbon from the air, prevent flooding, flood control, and are natural air conditioners. And of course, they’re beautiful!
Here is my suggestion. Instead of reducing meat, cutting meat all together!
I stopped eating meat last year. Best decision ever! And I don’t miss a thing.
Let’s go vegan as coaches and start a movement. It’s the most impactful change any individual can make. Check out this video. According to the economist, we could reduce food-related greenhouse gasses by 3/4 if we all went vegan by 2050. “If cows were a country, they would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter.”
This email is well-timed! I have been figuring out how to divided my time between my coaching business and climate organizing.
What I have figured out, and what I think is super valuable as a coach, is that my skills are needed in climate change organizations. I’ve joined Extinction Rebellion and have been working with them to smooth out conflict issues in the organization, decrease burn out, increase relationships amongst members and successfully onboard new members in ways they feel welcome. I also facilitate portions of meetings in ways that center people getting to speak to powerful questions as a way to share our thinking about what to do as well as get to know each other on a more personal level.
My goal will be to facilitate retreats and programming for climate organizations who struggle with issues that coaches can really help a lot with.
Thank you for raising this extremely important topic. I’m with you on the feelings of helplessness and watching things get worse and worse. I live just outside of NYC and today Sept 15th we’ve had a balmy summer day. It’s disturbing and not at all what is supposed to be happening here and now. Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket, but to me is a very visceral indicator of what’s wrong.
So, the things we do as individuals – donating, recycling, not using plastic straws, eating less meat, etc. These are all distractionary tactics to me. They are things we do that supposedly make a difference, but really are just a drop in the bucket. The true cause of climate change is due to 100 companies. That’s all. Just 100 polluting companies. https://www.
I often feel frustrated by the power of these corporations, the distractions used to keep us preoccupied and thinking we’re making a difference, and what feels like the futility of it all. Sorry this isn’t a more optimistic email. But perhaps we can figure something out together.
Thank you for raising this issue in our coaching community. I’ve also been wrestling with how to best have an impact. I’m both heartened and dismayed by scientists saying that we don’t need a scientific breakthrough to stop/mitigate climate change – we need the will.
I’m exploring groups at the intersection of environment/policy/education/
The Bioneers Conference next month in Marin County is one example (https://conference.bioneers.
Also thinking of groups like Living Room Conversations.
I would definitely be interested in a coach‘s climate change initiative!
In coaching we connect someone’s goals to their core values, their desires, their “why”. We also help them find and then take the actions that move them towards a goal without falling into throwing up their hands in overwhelm.
I think climate change needs those tactics. They need to show the people who don’t understand how this connects to their everyday values, cares and desires exactly what is in it for them to start taking action. And then ask them (instead of telling them) what they think they could do to move towards that goal and have someone help hold them accountable.
In terms of nitty gritty, it would be awesome to work with an organization that has social media or advertising budget to show them better behavioral change and motivational focused ideas and campaigns.
I think we can also just start sharing the message in that format. If we all have a social following then it is likely it will reach a broad network that way. If Lizzo can talk about the Amazon burning and get attention, then why not us?
Let’s start an earth friends coach gang!
In response to your questions, I have three ideas:
1) A lot of people are concerned, are anxious and want to do ‘something’. Helping them to define tangible things that they could do to assist the with this effort to move from anxious to action would be a step in the right direction. These steps would be different for each individual, and coaches could help them to clarify the way to action that would best suit their needs.
2) I think in most places we are past debating whether climate change exists and need to focus on mitigation. Coaches could reach out and contact politicians, and also the various organizations that are contributing to the problem and work towards building a common consensus.
3) People are often afraid of what they don’t know. If you’re worried about melting glaciers, visit the mountains and see first hand the effects. Visit a burned-out area after a forest fire or an area revenged by flood. Helping clients be more educated and aware about the effects of climate change will put more energy into their efforts to fight climate inaction. Coaches can make it part of their discussions with clients about their future state, and how to give forward the best possible world to our descendants.
Thank you for speaking up on this and sending the message. I have felt very much the same way as you, and I have been greatly alarmed at the seeming lack of interest from the general public.
I think as coaches it is important to first raise awareness about what is going on. I have a YouTube channel that I have used to speak out about issues that are important to me. I have ideas about using that platform to bring awareness to this issue. I think that’s where it has to start. Getting the message out there to others that this is a problem that we can no longer close our eyes to.
Maybe as a community of coaches we can make a commitment to do at least one post a week or a month or whatever schedule works for us that will focus on climate change and awareness as well as finding out what there is that we can do to preserve our environment, causes that we can support and ways that we can be active about it in our communities and then spread that information.
Buy steel straws in bulk and give them away with a reminder about how we all need to do our part to help heal the planet.
Support research and new discoveries of ways to remove plastic from the oceans. Just recently I saw an article about two women, students, who developed a bacteria that eats plastic and turns it into water.
Support candidates who want to do something about climate change.
Speak publicly about the urgency of global warming and ways to help (practically and politically).
Thank you for reading this far and for bringing an open mind to new ideas. It’s hard to talk about a topic like this one, there are so many *feelings* and beliefs around this, and we are grateful you are willing to read and listen.
Thanks for making the world a slightly better place! If you want to be a part of the Coach Pony community, you can join here.