Shannon Kenny, Sustainable Business Consultant
The power of one is real.
So real, in fact, that every movement and revolution started with the thoughts and actions of one person. Look at Rosa Parks, Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai. These 3 women decided they were gonna stand up for what they believed in. And without even realizing it, they stood up for millions of people. And changed the world because of it.
It all starts with one simple action, followed by another, and another. That’s all it takes.
Years ago, I started diving into my environmental footprint. At the time, I thought that recycling was all I needed to do in order to call myself an ‘eco friendly’ person. But then I realized that I wasn’t really changing any of my behaviors or habits. I was just sending the problem away.
That’s when I knew I had to do more.
So I started with one little change at a time. I looked at the different parts of my life: how much stuff I threw away, how much food I wasted, and what actually went into the products I was buying. And I began to understand that there was so much opportunity to lower my personal footprint just by changing what I was buying, using and consuming. That’s when I realized that it had to be bigger. The impact and the solutions had to be bigger. And if I could get more people on board with mindful consumption and sustainable living, then I’d be onto something.
When I first started my business, I focused on educating and empowering individuals to make better decisions when it came to the environment. People were so overwhelmed about issues like climate change and plastic pollution in the oceans. They felt paralyzed and had no idea where to begin. So I broke down these issues into simple steps, and people finally felt a sense of relief that they could play an active part in doing right by the planet. And the best part was: they didn’t have to change their entire lifestyle in order to do it.
You see: changing the world, having an impact on your community, and inspiring others doesn’t have to be this big, mammoth thing. It’s just a collection of small actions that add up to something much bigger than ourselves.
So I wanted to give you a few ideas of how can tackle these issues in different ways, either as an individual, a community or as a business. And why not start with two of the big ones: plastic pollution and climate change!
Problem #1: Plastic pollution
- carry around reusable utensils, a water bottle and a reusable coffee mug to avoid plastic on the go
- say no to plastic straws at restaurants and cafes
- educate your community about the health hazards of plastic and how they can live healthier lives (and save money!) by avoiding products that come in single-use plastic
- start a clean water drinking initiative to get your local water standards up, so people can drink from the tap instead of buying plastic water bottles
- start a business where you can help others reduce their use of plastic, like opening a bulk grocery store or making products that help people to avoid plastic.
- open a restaurant that gives people an incentive for bringing their own containers for takeout
Problem #2: Climate change
- shop as locally as possible to reduce the amount of miles your food travels to get to you. This will reduce the amount of energy required (and carbon emissions created) to feed you and your family
- reduce your food waste, which by the way, is one of the biggest things you can do to reduce greenhouse gases that warm the planet (when food waste breaks down in a landfill, it produces methane—a powerful greenhouse gas that’s contributing to climate change)
- educate your community on the importance of growing your own food and how it can improve their health and save them money (and reduce how far food travels to the community)
- start a community garden where the residents can grow their own food, spend less money at the grocery store, and become less reliant on foods that are shipped from far
- make your company’s website carbon neutral
- skip the business cards altogether, and use your website or instagram as your digital business card
- switch your office’s power to renewable energy (even if you work from home)
Here’s the thing…
Everyone has access to different things, which means that sustainable living looks different for everyone. So whether you live on your own, have a family or even have your own business, there’s lots of ways you can do your part.
You don’t have to change everything about your life in order to tread a little lighter on the planet. You just have to tweak the way you do things. It’s just that simple.
All my best,
Shannon Kenny is a Sustainable Business Consultant who helps eco-conscious businesses become more sustainable without sacrificing profit. Growing up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad instilled a deep sense of environmental responsibility within her, and in 2017, she turned that conviction into her career with the launch of Mama Eco, a business dedicated to helping eco-conscious people make better decisions for the environment. Shannon has spoken at sustainable events as well as been on panels with thought leaders in the environmental world. And has been featured in several publications, including USA Today, MarketWatch, mindbodygreen and Grateful.
Website Link: www.mamaeco.com