#ONEBIGCHANGE - A Simple Step to a More Sustainable Future

In my mind, with just two (or more likely three) weeks till my bakery Milish opens, I don’t have time to sit down and write this.

But equally after watching Greta Thurnbergs recent address to the UN I don't have time not to write it either.

As I saw first hand when I was studying marine biology, there is no part of this world mankind hasn't effected for the worse and as the ramped up production of industrialised nations increases as apposed to slowing down, by the year 2030 our planet could be unrecognisable as we know it. And not in an “sure Ireland’s getting great summers these days” kind of way.

Though we may not feel it directly in a first world country, the effects of climate change are NOW not some distant future. Kiribati became the first country ever to buy land in another country (in Fiji) for its future climate refugees. At present the acquired land is being turned to agriculture and fish farming to ensure the food security of its future population. You can read more here from the Guardian. In the last few weeks storms in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the surrounding countries have killed thousands of people, you can read more here about the most severe storm to hit in Mozambique history.

As Greta put it, politicians don't want you to panic, but when your house is on fire and you don't want it to burn to the ground you need to panic.

One of the reasons I was so unbelievably disheartened when I finished my masters was due to the powerlessness I felt. How can I affect change? How can it happen in time? I’ve written a few pieces on this and I would LOVE for you to read them too - simple ways to live more sustainably, sustainable clothing and an intro to understanding what we can do to preserve the worlds fresh water.

And since I hate nothing more then when someone gives you bad news, but no useful tools on how to solve the problem, here are a few things you could right away, not only to strengthen yourself if you have whats now being coined “climate anxiety”, but also that you can do to create lasting change in your community and have your voice be heard in a wider arena. Different things might work for you, but here’s what I’m doing this week.

Watch Brene Browns talk on Netflix. This is an amazing talk on vulnerability and being brave. What on earth does that have to do with climate you say? Busy, tired and stressed out humans (thats us) are, for the most part, just doing their best to survive. Where in the time to - change your diet, your daily transport, how you spend your money, your holidays etc etc? Brene’s talk is great for a bit of introspection, looking at yourself, your life and your values. If you realise that you love being alive, love your neighbourhood, your friends, your beach, your dog and how precious they all are, we’d do anything to save that right?

The is the big whopper. Its election time folks!

For Europe thats MEPs and also local government. This month we are in an EXTREMELY unique situation. Where environmental issues used to be sort of shoved to one side and politicians were afraid to put forward unfavourable environmental policies, the playing field has flipped.

Big industries may still have big money, but there is power in numbers and we are all watching this space.

Talk to those running and campaigning. I’ve linked here the Talk to Your TD PDF from the climate ambassador program I’m part of. Its a great way to hold your elected officials accountable for actionable change.

Looking at ourselves again. I want to know one BIG thing you could do this week to be a part of serious big change. This could be anything, but it needs to be BIG. This goes back to the vulnerability idea. How are you willing to get uncomfortable?

We can use me as an example for now. Unfortunately I still drive a diesel van, though I would really love to graduate to a hybrid or electric soon. Living rurally and travelling for demos I’m not sure I could give up a vehicle completely. BUT I am within cycling distance of town. But I don't own a bike. Pretty bad eh? I only learned to cycle in my early 20s and have always been embarrassed about being so late to the party. What if I look like an ejit? What if I fall over? So this week, ejit or no ejit I am making it my mission to buy a second hand bike.

So what will you do? Maybe you’ve always considered being veggie or vegan, but are afraid of what your friends/family might say? Maybe you could try taking the train/bus for the week instead of the car (maybe you could join me on my wobbly cycle)? Maybe you could watch The True Cost, learn about the impact of Fast Fashion, kick the habit for good and do a “thrifted” clothing haul? I’d love to hear about it and please tag me on instagram @saltwaterstories.me so I can see your #ONEBIGCHANGE

Finn Ni Fhaolain