climate change blog - the soulful word

Climate change protests – how not to be a dick on social media

We’re running out of time.

Yet each time there’s a protest by Extinction Rebellion, thousands of people take to social media to leave negative comments, criticise each protestor’s lifestyle and, in many cases, deliberately write nasty, abusive words that make the rest of us scream on the inside with utter despair.

If you’re one of those commenters, you’re missing the point.

Completely.

The whole idea of any protest is to raise awareness and create change.

And in order to do that, protests must disrupt either governments, businesses or the public.

David Attenborough wouldn’t have created mass awareness about global warming and environmental issues without the help of the BBC and a huge team of scientists and digital crew.

Greenpeace wouldn’t have created mass awareness of the atrocities of whaling without their demonstrations back in the 1980s.

Animal rights groups wouldn’t have created mass awareness of testing on animals and barbaric fur farms without breaking in and releasing thousands of beagles, mink and rabbits.

While not every one of us desires to be (or even needs to be) a front line activist, these protests, events and online campaigns do motivate us – as both individuals and large corporations – to make changes.

As a vegetarian teenager back in the 80s, I was deeply saddened to find out about animal testing and instantly made the switch to The Body Shop’s products – a company at the forefront of the cruelty-free movement thirty years ago.

Extinction Rebellion are no different. They’re simply trying to make us aware of a global issue that will, in a very short period of time, affect every single one of us alive.

Climate change.

Of course, being stuck in traffic or late for work is an inconvenience, but it’s a tiny drop in the ocean to how life might be if we run out of food and water.

  • Fancy living in a war zone or an overpopulated town with mass looting?
  • Or how about a country with mass inflation where a loaf of bread costs £100?
  • Or losing your home to rising sea levels and having to flee inland as a refugee?

No. Me neither.

refugee crisis and climate change - the soulful word

Photo credit @unsplash

And remember… if you’re able to read this on a smartphone from the luxury of your own home on a comfy sofa with a glass of wine, you’re one of the privileged few.

For now anyway.

Each person who takes part in a protest has their own reasons for doing so. We can’t all take part, just as we aren’t all willing to give up our cars or stop eating meat.

So herein lies the issue.

We’ve become an incredibly intolerant society jumping on the bandwagon and leaving vitriolic comments on social media posts that are simply highlighting events designed to help humanity as a whole.

I’ve read so many comments today where people feel they have the right to suggest that each protestor probably still uses a gas-guzzling 4×4 vehicle or takes a plane on holiday each year.

This kind of attitude implies that only the ‘purest’ of citizens have a right to protest for change.

How ridiculously twisted is that?

None of us are perfect.

And that’s ok.

Because in terms of climate change, that would mean we’d all have to live off grid, grow our own food, walk everywhere and eschew computers and wifi.

Hey, we’d even have to all live off lentil soup (because yes, someone did actually throw that one into a Facebook comments thread today!).

Assuming we could even harvest that many lentils from our small piece of land that is.

I digress.

The point is, the bullying and trolling on social media is disgusting and disgraceful.

And it has to stop.

If you have time to make negative comments about climate change issues when other people are actually trying to help you to live a better life in the future, then you really need to find a new hobby to keep you busy.

Devil, idle hands. Just sayin’.

Currently, we all have a choice.

We can choose to eat less meat, take part in beach cleans, use a bike instead of a car or refuse to buy items in plastic.

We can choose to write blogs, make videos, start eco-friendly companies or speak in schools about the issues currently facing planet Earth.

Many choose to actively take part in protests, even if it means risking arrest or the abuse of those who disagree.

In the western world we’re lucky to live in a democracy where free speech is allowed. Not everyone has that choice to speak up for what they believe in.

So before you leave another ill-informed, abusive or even sarcastic comment, ask yourself this:

Am I contributing to this discussion in a way that is positive, polite and constructive?

Remember that it’s easy to pick on minority groups and those whose beliefs differ from ours.

It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and fire off loaded words.

But that doesn’t make it right.

Will you do the right thing today?

climate change stand together - the soulful word

Photo credit @unsplash

Fancy reading more about environmental issues? You might like this blog ‘The True Cost of Fast Fashion’.

 

The Power of Human Connection

NEW! Listen to the audio version of this blog HERE.

Over the last three years my life (and business) has changed dramatically because of one thing:

Human Connection.

I’m not really sure if I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert (and I hate labels anyway) but to be able to spend a high percentage of my time safely tucked away in my own home, free from the draining energy of crowds, toxic office culture and negative energy vampires means that I’m a happier, calmer and more creative person than ever before.

But, of course, it’s not particularly helpful to be at home alone when running your own small business, so I’ve found a way to form genuine connections and true friendships with incredible women across the globe.

Setting up one or two video calls each week with women who inspire and motivate me (and vice versa) is the perfect way to boost social connection and engage in powerful human conversations.

And human conversation is the key to successful sales according to my good friend Jules White, a British sales coach, motivational TEDx speaker, author of Live It, Love It, Sell It and podcast host of The Human Conversation. (She’s a busy girl!)

In her book, Jules talks about the role of empathy in sales conversations and how to create strong relationships built on integrity:

‘The beauty of relationships is they last longer than a single transaction, so by conducting yourself with integrity and empathy rather than focusing on ‘winning’ you’re likely to generate future business. Your client will come back to you when they need you, and they’ll recommend you to others. That’s the real win. This is human selling and human connection.’

I love Jules’ approach but I’m also acutely aware that many women will shy away from creating these deep connections because they feel threatened by other women. 

Why is that?

Some might say it’s a link back to ancestral times such as the Salem witch trials when women were forced to expose other women as witches in order to protect themselves and their families. Others might say it’s just in our biological nature or that it’s simply learned habits from the culture we live in today.

But…

Every week I hear stories in the online space of women copying other women’s work, branding, images or words, women tearing others down or using people to get to the top. Not only is it stressful for those incredible, hard-working women who’ve worked so hard to elevate their small business into the online space to help others, but it’s very sad for those women who believe that using and abusing really is the only way to get what they want. (Hint: It’s not!)

When women support each other, incredible things happen.

Yesterday, I had a deep conversation with Georgia Varjas, a motivational speaker, writer and mentor living in Spain, about why women feel threatened by other women. We covered all sorts of angles from confidence and insecurities to labelling and judgment. Georgia reminded me of a quote she used during her amazing talk at Helen Packham’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Live event in Brighton in June:

The tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart.’ (Anon)

Georgia very generously invited me into her creative process and book writing journey and shared her ideas for the theme, chapters and messages within and from our conversation we both went away feeling inspired, motivated and filled with creativity.

When you open up and allow other women into your life and feel confident and secure in who you are, then amazing things really do happen.

In addition to these social connections and genuine friendships being so powerful when it comes to raising your profile and supporting your business passions in the online space, it’s important to remember that relationships are a form of self-love and nourishment and have a profound impact on our health.

Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, says, ‘The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health … Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.’

The message I’m sharing with you today is that building relationships on a solid foundation of integrity, kindness and love is vitally important for our health and our businesses.

I know that I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of so many incredible women. And I’m so grateful to each and every one of them.

Are you taking the time to build relationships?

I’d love to know…

Lorraine xx

If you’re interested in anything or anyone I’ve mentioned above, here are the links:

Live It Love It, Sell It – book by Jules White

Jules White – Facebook group- ‘Live It Love It Sell It with Jules White’

Georgia Varjas ‘Slipping and Sliding on the Glass Ceiling’ – live talk from Entrepreneurial Leaders Live, June 2018

Georgia Varjas – Facebook Page ‘Step Up and Stand Out’

Helen Packham, leadership & Business Coach, TEDx speaker and creator of Entrepreneurial Leaders Live events

The Harvard Study of Adult Development