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Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking

Oct. '23: Volunteering with the Carbon Almanac

2023-10-31 11:23

Cathryn Barnard

Sustainability, FUTURE OF WORK, SUSTAINABILITY, BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION, CLIMATE CRISIS, CSR,

Oct. '23: Volunteering with the Carbon Almanac

When Seth Godin wrote a post in February 2022 calling for more volunteers to assist with the launch of a new book on climate change, I was curious...

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As I said in my last blog, the impact of human activity on our planet is something that’s bothered me at a cellular level for several decades.

When we set up Working the Future in 2016, I always planned to use our business as a force for good in the world.

So when Seth Godin wrote a post in February 2022 calling for more volunteers to assist with the launch of a new book on climate change, I was curious and drawn to action. 

On admission to the Carbon Almanac community, I was immediately struck by its buzz. It was palpable. Hundreds of volunteers from all over the globe taking action in a continuous stream of progress in an effort to complete editing of the book and prepare it for publication. 

Not just that but creatives taking the opportunity to complement the book with illustrated versions for kids, or versions translated into additional languages. 

At first, I wasn’t sure where I could chime in. But as I’ve learned from almost two years of working alongside Seth, the best way to begin is to begin. 

So I stepped in with what I could offer. And gained first-hand exposure to the magic that can happen when teams of highly motivated, purpose-driven individuals come together in pursuit of shared goals.

While the Carbon Almanac is now an award-winning bestseller, it’s the experience of working with this team that’s stayed with me. People are capable of remarkable things and they always have been. 

When you have moments of climate doom – and you will have – remember this. The fossil fuel industry wants you to give up and give in. It is covertly lobbying politicians to row back on climate targets. It has a vested interest in having you believe switching away from oil is hopeless. 

It may not be plain sailing but it’s far from hopeless. 

Fifteen years ago, the UK was trailblazing when it came to green energy innovation. Fifteen years before that, the UK was a world leader in designing and building the mobile phone networks we now take for granted today. I know; I was part of that great technological adventure. 

We each have it in us to do great things. I don’t believe the past two decades of cheap stuff and mass consumption has made any of us happier. In fact, I’d wager peak-consumerism has been hugely detrimental to wellbeing and to societal cohesion at large. 

But if we come together, we can change things. If we prioritise social connection, inclusion and collaboration, there are no limits to what we can create in our shift towards a decarbonised, cleaner, healthier society.

As the anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

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