“together we can change our world”

“together we can change our world”

When most people think Girl Guides they probably don’t think of progressive girls and young women who play a significant advocacy role in local and global issues?

Well,  think again everybody!

This is precisely what the 10 million members of the world’s largest  volunteer organisation for girls and young women do, with memberships across 145 countries including Australia.

As their Global Action Theme, girls worldwide say: “Together we can change our world”. This theme is based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). An activity pack supports the curriculum and helps children and young women to learn about the MDG’s and, most importantly, to take action on the issues that affect them and their communities. [Read more…]

the girl effect

On the 8 March 2011 we are celebrating the centennary of International Women’s Day – a good occasion to remind us of the plight of girls around the world.

Did you realise that currently:

  • women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half the world’s food, and yet earn only 10 % of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property?
  • women make up 70% of the worlds 1.3 billion people who live in poverty?
  • women over the age of 15 in the least developed countries are twice as likely to be illiterate than men.

The solution? [Read more…]

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

In keeping with our recent focus on consumption I was struck by the call of a Sri Lankan scientist to assist “rich countries to curb their climate-damaging consumption habits through a set of consumption goals  – in the same way the poor have ‘Millennium Development Goals’   (MDG’s) to get them out of poverty”.

What a brilliant idea!  His reasoning is obvious: 20% of the worlds richest people are responsible for 80% of consumption.

And of course, the always impressive team at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington responded to the call with a first draft: [Read more…]

Part-time vegetarians

Part-time vegetarians

How to turn half the world vegetarian in an instant!

Experts have warned of the climate implications of meat production for several years now and beef is particularly damaging. Decaying manure and flatulent cows release methane, a greenhouse gas. In addition, the production of only 1kg of meat requires 15 kg or grain and 30 kg of forage. Grain in turn needs to be fertilised which requires further energy. [Read more…]

how to start a movement for sustainability

how to start a movement for sustainability

The beginning of a new year offers an opportunity for a fresh start full of good intentions.

2010 marked the beginning of a new decade with great hopes for sustainable development including biodiversity – BUT it  was not a good year for global sustainable development. It was marked  and marred by an entirely preventable, highly publicised, major environmental disaster and, in the main, a “business as usual” approach.

It was also marked by increased calls for true sustainability versus the rhetoric of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its various incarnations. So what kind of year will 2011 become and be remembered for? Will it become known as the year where we galavanise into  positive action? Will it be remembered for a substantial swing towards long term planning? 2012 will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future – what do we have to show after 25 years of mainstreaming sustainable development ? Not much I am afraid.

BUT, there is hope yet.

There are many excellent initiatives aiming to  deliver a sustainable lifestyle for all. What can we do to accellerate positive change?  Among many other things we need to highlight and promote the work of  entrepreneurs who drive worldchanging intiatives, small and large, wherever they may be. It has long been a passion of mine to build on existing achievements and I adore Derek Siver’s simple but compelling TED video below on how to start a movement which brings home the importance of courage to go against the tide, team work and puts a smile on ones’ face!

Check out these articles and intiatives for further stimulation and I look forward to your comments!

‘Splashing around in the citizenship shallows‘ by John Elkington

The Transition Decade for a safe climate future 2010 – 2020

i am dreaming of a green christmas

i am dreaming of a green christmas

Christmas and New Year are just around the corner and product advertising is rampant.  Among the many voices competing for our attention is an emerging call for a greener Christmas. For obvious reasons: while Christmas is a time for generosity it is also a time for great excess. The amount of waste that goes to landfill in Australia over the festive season is higher than any other time of the year. So is the amount of energy consumed in households.

BUT: We can have a good time at Christmas and New Year AND do something good for the planet. Here are three of my favorites and a list of hyperlinked resources for further exploration:

1. Go nowhere.  Transport is the 2nd largest contributor to climate change. In addition to saving greenhouse gas emissions you also gain time to relax, and spend less time packing bags, on the road and setting up at the destination. If you absolutely have to go somewhere to join family and friends, take the bike, train or bus.

[Read more…]

from social investment to social return on investment

a social enterprise????

I recently attended the inaugural ”Social Return Forum” put together by a colleague of mine, Oliver Wagg  of New Climate for the 3 Pillars Network.

Concepts like social investment, social return on investment and a social investment market are much talked about lately by social investors, social entrepreneurs, those generating social profits and intermediaries alike and seem to have gone mainstream – and for good reasons:

  • We all want and need to know if our efforts are making a difference to the issues we are trying to address.
  • This evidence base to inform further investment has been missing in large parts of the social sector.
  • Evidence of social returns is instrumental for those investing funds in social issues and who are convincing others of the merit of these investment.

To state the obvious and track back a little – we are hungry for alternative approaches to welfare funding and need evidence about whether approaches work or not. [Read more…]

the one thing that everybody can do to reduce their footprint

There is a terrific group on linkedin called ‘Green’ where one member prompted the rest of us to propose the one thing that everybody could do to reduce their impact on the environment and it has turned into a long, long list. I have picked three things we can all do right now in Australia as a starting point:

  • “Do as you choose as long as you do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others to do as they choose. In short, if someone else desires clean water, I shouldn’t pollute it because I’d force myself upon them. If I head into the mountains to hike, I shouldn’t spoil the trips of others behind me by leaving trash or spoilage.  Simply, be responsible. That one thing is as green as one can get.”
  • Use contraception to reduce family size and stabilize populations”‘
  • stop buying bottled water and use tap or rainwater.

Click here to check it out. In addition to interesting discussions about cultural relevance of things that everybody in the world could meaningfully do, regardless of where we live, there are more than 1800 suggestions, there is bound to be something in there that all of us can do asap.  You need to be on linkedin and become a member of the group to see it though and no, Momentum doesn’t have any vested interest in linkedin!

ccept the libertarian creed – Do as you choose as long as you do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others to do as they choose. In short, if someone else desires clean water, I shouldn’t pollute it because I’d force myself upon them.

If I head into the mountains to hike, I shouldn’t spoil the trips of others behind me by leaving trash or spoilage. If I’d like to develop property far from a city, I shouldn’t expect those in town to pay for the roads or services. My clients and I should.

Simply, be responsible. That one thing is as green as one can get.

medium sized enterprises united through First 5000

medium sized enterprises united through First 5000

First 5000 launch 20 Oct at NSW Parliament House

According to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) SMEs account for about 90 per cent of business worldwide, employing 50 to 60 per cent of the world’s workforce. In Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicate small businesses in Australia comprise up to 89 per cent of all employing enterprises, with medium businesses making up another 10 per cent.

The SME sector is not only huge but also extremely diverse – with  60% of all of these businesses not having any employees – this diversity creates challenges on many levels and  areas including responsible business practices,  corporate sustainability and philanthropy.

[Read more…]

John Elkington – the diplomatic provocateur

John Elkington – the diplomatic provocateur

Last week I attended a most interesting conversation with John Elkington organised by the Global Reporting Initiative Australia focal point.    John is one of the best known sustainability movers and shakers who has been described by Business Week as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.” He originated the term triple bottom line, established the think tank SustainAbility and is currently the Founding Partner & Director of Volans.  In his own introduction he explained his role on the GRI board as a provocateur who would like to create constructive disruption and spends much of his time these days supporting disruptive innovators….

[Read more…]