Robert Swan once said “The biggest danger to the planet is to think someone else will save it”. Brad Frankel at Flooglebinder unpicks how to actually create lasting change.
Many people have the mentality that someone else will do it, someone else will pick it up, someone else will put it away, someone else will move it, someone else will give some change to that homeless person, someone else will talk to that charity worker and someone else will save the planet but where does the buck stop?
US president Harry Truman kept a sign of that phrase in his office to remind him that the buck stopped with him – he had to make decisions and take responsibility for his actions but don’t we all?
Every day we make constant decisions about how we’re going to act and what we’re going to do and quite often these behavioural traits are habits of our experience, society and culture. It can be extremely difficult to change habits, especially when you don’t see the value in why you should change doing something that you do, or do something that you don’t feel is your responsibility to do, and that’s the main point here – understanding that the buck stops at each and every one of us. We all have a carbon footprint, we all breathe, we all use resources that our planet produces, some less than others, and therefore we all have a responsibility to make changes for a more sustainable future.
Before we can even look at the danger of our actions and responsibility, we need to go further back as the biggest danger is education because we don’t know what we don’t know. So, if people aren’t aware of these issues, and more importantly the impact that they have on these issues, it’s almost impossible to create change. The second point is connecting people to these issues as quite often they feel so detached from them, i.e. it doesn’t affect me so why should I bother? Or, the figures are so ludicrous that people don’t feel their changes will have an impact, i.e. more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050 – which is now a controversial statement!
“So, if people aren’t aware of these issues, and more importantly the impact that they have on these issues, it’s almost impossible to create change.”
(Side note: How can we know this if we haven’t explored 95% of the ocean, which is 70% of the planet? Therefore, we don’t know what occurs in 66.5% of planet Earth.)
However, if you do these two things well, educate and connect, that’s how you can create change and that’s what we focus on – At Flooglebinder we educate students about these issues, such as the United Nations sustainable development goals, we then take them to places where they can see it and experience it first-hand but through adventure, play and experiential learning, to keep them engaged and inspired. As a result of all of this, we can create behavioural changes due to their socio-emotional response.
You can’t change everyone but we can change enough people to make a difference.