What hooked Naomi Klein into sustainability?

A good friend loaned me the book “This Changes Everything” by social activist Naomi Klein.  It’s a massive book and I’m still processing a lot of its content.

This Changes Everything

One thing that I’m always on the lookout for in sustainability is to understand the triggers that enable people to engage with something so potentially overwhelming.  So the bit of the book that I HAVE integrated is the Introduction, which tells Klein’s story about what engaged her in sustainability.

“I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit.  I knew it was happening, sure…. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details… And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong…”

In April 2009, something changed over lunch.  Klein met with Bolivia’s ambassador to the WTO in Geneva.  Over a Chinese meal this amazing young woman – Angelica Navarro Llanos – created an opportunity for Klein to connect.

Engage through opportunity…

Llanos did this by reframing climate change as an opportunity.  She challenged the grinding logic of austerity and created a vision for climate change to become a galvanizing force for humanity, “leaving us all not just safer from extreme weather, but with societies that are safer and fairer than all kinds of other ways as well.”

How often do you talk opportunity?

As you write blogs, post articles and have conversations, take a bit of time out to check out whether you’re offering opportunity.    Then take some extra time to explore your likely audience and what THEY think is an exciting opportunity.

If you don’t know of any opportunities and can’t share them, if all you do is push the panic button, then have a good hard look in the mirror to make sure you’re not part of the problem.

How do you find opportunity?

Sign up for our newsletter, join our Regenerative Business discussion on LinkedIn or download our whitepaper Entrepreneuring the Regenerative Economy for our perspective.

Once you start looking, you’ll find a wealth of resources.  Some we like include subscribing to REnewEconomy, TriplePundit and 2degrees, following Gunter Pauli’s Blue Economy adventures or joining Paul Hawken in Project Drawdown.


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About Leigh


Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.