I’m changing things up this week!
Rather than showcase an interview or a “how to” episode on how to live more sustainably, I thought I’d share some thoughts and reflections with you on what’s going through my head this week as I turn the big 4-0!! Plus, I wanted to let you know of a few exciting opportunities and projects on the horizon….
Podcast: Play in new window
Here’s the podcast transcription (if you prefer to read!)….
I don’t know about you of course, but I tend to reflect every birthday, especially a milestone birthday. I’m not the type of person that looks back a lot of the time. I look towards the future and all the things that I want to do. The goals that I want to achieve, places that I want to go, and things that I want to do with my life.
I set goals and go out there and make them happen.
Even though I don’t look back too often, lately I have been reflecting on my 20’s and 30’s and thinking about how I want my 40’s to be. I’m excited to be turning 40 and looking forward to this next decade. I’m out of the ‘baby’ stage with my sons – who are now 5 and 7 years old – and I feel like I’m starting to get a bit of myself back.
Being a work from home mum of small children, the last 8 years have been a slog. To be honest, even the 11 years before that, when I worked in Industry and completed my Masters of Science whilst working full time, was a real slog too. I worked on remote sites with long hours and tough rosters and even lived in a remote mining camp for 4 years. So, looking back I worked and worked to achieve my goals. I’ve had fun along the way as well but I’d like to make more time for this, looking ahead. I’m looking to reconnect with myself and others and spend quality time with the people that mean the most to me.
As part of these reflections, I wanted to share with you a little of what my 30’s were like. 10 years ago, I was still working in Corporate for BHP Billiton, the largest resources company in the world. I was a Senior Environmental Engineer and had just accepted a role in a business improvement capacity. It was a strong leadership program where I was put through intensive training on how to lead multi-million-dollar improvement projects.
At the age of 32, my life changed when I gave birth to my first son. I’d been working in the business improvement role for a couple of years and missed working as an Environmental Engineer.
Whilst on maternity leave, I set up my first online business, ‘Sustainababy’. My son was 6 months old when I launched the business online. The business won several regional and national awards and grew very quickly. Meanwhile, my second son was born when I was 35, and it was around a year after this when I started my online sustainable living education programs; Home Detox Boot Camp, Greenhouse Home Energy Blitz and Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs.
I also started as a Sustainable Living Expert on ABC 639 radio each week. I have continued this for the last two and a half years. But I felt that the more I added onto my plate, the thinner I was spreading myself. I made the decision to lighten the load and sell ‘Sustainababy’ in 2015.
Not long after that, I started online coaching for conscious businesses. This included teaching online marketing skills and working with impact-driven entrepreneurs who were trying to make a big impact in the world.
My 30’s have been a real journey from Corporate, to becoming a mum, to starting a business, to selling a business, to starting another business and coaching. I’ve had two kids in that time, and if I’m honest, it was a struggle to adjust to becoming a mum, and finding that balance in my identity.
As you’re aware, sustainability is my why… burning at the core of everything I do. As I look towards my 40’s, I’m wondering how to best use my time, my skills and my passion, to make the difference that I want to make in the world. I don’t really know the answer yet, but I’m trusting it will come to me in the next few months.
I know my superpower is seeing the big picture, in all its complexities and breaking it down into smaller, manageable chunks for people to action. Whether it’s helping mums at home take small steps to live lighter and reduce their impact on climate change, or guiding conscious business owners to build a brand online that makes the impact they want in the world.
My right and left brains dance together.
I’m a creative engineer – I love good strategy but I execute with innovative flair. At the end of the day, my biggest superpower is that I am an innovative creator. I think differently than most, and that’s a good thing.
I want to share with you some statistics on the state of the global environment now (Source)…
- World human population is now over 7.5 billion…. and is tipped to reach 10 billion by 2050
- 5 billion people without sewage systems
- 4 million people in need of water globally right now
- 6 million deaths from dirty water and related diseases globally this year
- 385,000 deaths from air pollution in cities so far, this year
- 5 million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans globally this year
- 22 million square kilometres of plastic soup in the world’s oceans right now
- 18 million tonnes of e-waste thrown out this year
- 30 years left to the end of seafood
- 30 % of wild forests left globally
- 70% coral reefs left globally
- 58,000 species gone extinct so far this year
These statistics don’t surprise me…. I’ve been watching them deteriorate for almost 25 years. But they really do alarm me and no matter what I do, I can’t ignore them. There are so many of us do ignore them. It’s easy to detach from problems when they seem so big and they’re global. But it is impacting on our lives and our home; we only have one planet and this destruction is happening in our lifetime.
I also wanted to share with you an exciting opportunity that I’ve been given this year. I’ve been selected to join 80 female scientists from around the world on the second ever “Homeward Bound”. This is a 12-month leadership program culminating in a three-week expedition to Antarctica in February / March 2018.
“Homeward Bound” is a global movement aiming at raising awareness for the low representation of women in leadership positions in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM).
It also strives to equip collaborative groups of women with the leadership capabilities to influence significant issues at global level including climate change, deforestation, species extinction and quality of life.
As an experienced environmental engineer (with a Masters Degree in Environmental Chemistry), sustainable living expert and regular eco living contributor on ABC 639 Radio, I was chosen from a large pool of applicants worldwide to participate in the intensive leadership program and to travel to Antarctica. I am absolutely honoured and blown away to have been accepted into this program.
The program will run every year for ten years, so at the end there will be around one thousand female scientists with the legacy mindset that can collaborate to take these issues right to the top. I guess, in my line of work, I’m podcasting and blogging to get my voice out there, but most scientists are working in Industry or Universities and Research Institutions. They do amazing work but it doesn’t reach the average person on the street. After completing this program, we’re expected to step up globally with our credible scientific voices, and get the message out there.
Over the next few months, I will commit a lot of time to this program. We are currently in small groups, working on different projects for several hours per week.
The big issue at the forefront of my mind is the funding for the program. And so I wanted to give you a heads up that by this time next week I will have launched a crowdfunding campaign. This is to help raise some of the $30K+ needed for the leadership program and Antarctic expedition (expedition alone costs around $22,000).
I have also approached some corporates for sponsorship in exchange for promotion. I have contacted schools in Adelaide and Melbourne (particularly female schools) where I can talk to young girls about science, sustainability, and leadership. It’s so important to encourage girls to consider STEMM careers. The solutions to many of these future global issues are going to come from scientists and engineers and women, who often have a legacy mindset, are valuable in these roles.
So, I’m happy and proud with what I’ve achieved with my life so far in making a difference. Now it’s time to wait and see what the best path for me is in the next 12-24 months and beyond. I’m excited for the possibilities that will come from the “Homeward Bound” program. I know that I will continue to work in the sustainability space. I’m not going anywhere! I plan to continue to support you and the world to help make green mainstream.