Monday, 3 August 2015

Step 9 in Going Green: Make Connections, Use Your Strengths

In the aftermath of the Climate Reality Leadership conference held in Toronto this past July, I have been experiencing a rather dramatic creative renaissance.

I love it when I get a creative flashes. They are extremely satisfying.

I have them in teaching, in writing, and now, in my foray into environmental activism.

Usually, it starts with the mental line: wouldn't it be cool if...

And then an idea comes to me. In a rush. It feels like a rush, too. I get mental goosebumps. I sometimes freeze in motion like a dog picking up a scent. Then I might jump up and down mentally, like a toddler that has to pee...

Often, once the idea takes shape, I will experience a type of 'well, of course'. Like it was something I knew but had forgotten. It feels like it was built into the fabric of the universe and utterly 'meant to be'.

Okay, getting out of the realm of the metaphysical...and into the practical. Here are the ideas that came to me, in order of their appearance...

1. Teachers Connecting to Environmentalists

When I was at the conference, I kept asking people I met: 'would you consider being a guest speaker in my classroom via Skype?" I received enthusiastic yeses to my requests.

But when I got home I realized...this could be so much bigger.

I only spoke to a handful of people. There were 600 attendees at the Toronto conference. Maybe they would like to be a guest in my classroom? Or any classroom?

Maybe other teachers besides myself might like to talk to them?

How can I get them all to meet one another? Wouldn't it be cool if...

  • There was digital space with a list of environmentalists from all walks of life who were interested in connecting digitally with classrooms...
  • Teachers could use this site to find interesting people, 'ordinary' people who are doing extraordinary things...
  • It could have wide application across grades and across curriculum...
  • I could add some lesson plan suggestions on how to facilitate this...

As such, my Eco-Teacher Network idea was born! It is still in the planning phase but my ultimate goal is to create a digital document (website?) that will facilitate this teacher-eco community connection!

2. Environmentalist Connecting to Readers
At the Climate Reality conference, there was moment when we all got to share our stories at the table groups, stories about how we came to be interested in environmental action, how we came to be at the conference. (I wrote about these a bit in a previous post).

I got inspired by this. Wouldn't it be cool if...

  • I could interview this diverse group of interesting people and document those moments of 'green awakening'? 
  • How did they become environmentalists? Was there a catalyst? A defining moment?
  • Was there an inner shift that happened inside when they realized the importance of the environment and that action must be taken?

I could turn this into an anthology! 

How inspiring to read about people making changes in their life! It's the very embodiment of what this 'going green' blog is about, just writ larger and wider!

And so my Green Awakenings Anthology idea was born! I'm currently in the process of interviewing and writing up entries! It might be a blog, a book, or both! (Probably a blog, first--so stay tuned!)

The entries don't necessarily have to relate to climate change. I intend for it to reach beyond Climate Reality Leaders. So I am eager to find other 'ordinary people' who are similarly green inspired!

(If this strikes your fancy, and you think you would be a good candidate, please email me: or contact me on Twitter: @julieejohnsonn)

3. Environmentalists Connecting to Viewers

Fast on the heels of the above idea came this:

Wouldn't it be cool if...

  • I could also interview environmentalist live, on the web, on a webcast, and, using my Twitter skills, introduce them to my 1900 followers?

It would be a half hour show, an informal chat between myself and my guest. We could talk about how they came to be interested in the environment, what steps they've taken to 'go green', what environmental action others can take, what specific environmental issues are they concerned about...

Then I would send it out into the internet to inspire others!

And so my weekly Hill of Greens Webcast idea was born!

(Looking for guest speakers! Please let me know if you are interested!)

Sooooo...pretty awesome, eh?

Have you noticed a thread running through all of these?

I am a green match maker! 

Not in a romantic sense, but as in: 'I am an operator at the switch board of ideas'.

I want to take the eco ideas from as many diverse people as possible and connect them to as many diverse people as possible.

What an amazing realization, that:

Sharing and connecting on a personal level is in itself a form of environmental activism!

This caters to my strengths. As a teacher, I am used to facilitating conversation, zeroing in on concepts, bringing them to the fore. As a writer, in the written venue, I do that, too. I know how to edit ideas down to its essence.

I had no idea these particular facets of myself could be put to use this way!


I remember what Al Gore said at the conference.

"We can live lives with an extra layer of meaning"

This is how this feels to me. Like a new layer of myself has been discovered (or, rather, it was built into the fabric of the universe and utterly meant to be...I just had to find it...)

Al Gore also said:
I feel that truth force. I want that truth force to flow through me and beyond me and through others and into others...

I spoke with a fellow CR Leader Nan Foster via FB this week about this and she said somethings that really resonated:

The activism all comes from conversation. That authentic connection between people...that is our strength.

I can feel the inspiring power of connection. This is how you counter Climate Change insomnia and the like. By joining up and joining in and just plain joining.

Ok, I just got mental goosebumps again!

PS. The other ideas that I have are creative writing pieces:
-my cli fi mystery, which I started in the Spring
-a graphic novel version of my sitcom idea from this comic: a group of activists, striving to make change...

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