Working in the not-for-profit and social enterprise space means I get to meet some of Australia’s most inspiring thought leaders and world changers. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to sit down with Natalie Isaacs, the CEO and Founder of 1 Million Women. 1 Million Women is Australia’s largest women’s movement acting on climate change. Their aim is to engage 1 Million female members globally, each committed to cutting 1 tonne of carbon in their daily lives.
Natalie’s presence and big red hair are almost as big as her ideas and passion for solving our climate crisis. Her modesty and true-to-her-word expressions are what makes her vision so contagious and relatable. “I’m no climate scientist or Greenie. I’m an ex perfume manufacturer who wanted to reduce my impact”.
It is Nat and her co-CEO Tara’s mission to engage with women and girls of the developed world and remind them of their incredible power to change the climate crisis. As women we have a lot of purchase power, this means cutting energy in the home and office is in our hands.
It is time to think differently about the brands we buy and the services we support. In February, I made the promise to give up fast fashion. Not so long ago, I was the kind of consumer who bought a new outfit for every new event. However, as I became more aware of the deadly impact of some of my favourite fashion brands supply chains, the attraction to have evidence of this hanging in my wardrobe vanished. From here it was an upward spiral of making sure I knew the impact of each of my consumer choices. From the food in my cupboard, the cleaning products I use, the cosmetic brands I choose to the yoga mats I buy or promote. I now see the opportunity in every purchase to do something good for the world I live in, and the sentient beings I share it with.
After meeting Natalie, I’ve decided there are many more choices I can make in my daily life to reduce my footprint. What is so effective about 1 Million Women movement is there are options for everyone. They are not forcing everyone to become a vegan who lives in an unpowered home, because that is not accessible or realistic for most of us. Some of their simple steps for reducing your CO2 emissions are:
Say NO to bottled water
Trim your dairy intake
Switch off your power points when not in use
Dry your clothes on the clothes line
How simple is that! These simple changes alone equate to a 900kg saving to our CO2 pollution.
So how does this relate to yoga? As a yogi, we come from an understanding that there is no separation between self and other, between our inner world and our outer world. This view recognises that in a complex world, everything is interconnected. If our environment suffers, we suffer with it.
As part of the first limb of Ashtanga yoga, we make a promise to certain standards of behaviour, known as the “Yamas”. This is an ethical pledge to conduct ourselves in a way that does not negatively impact the society and world around us. Before we concern ourselves with the progress of our physical practice, we must first make this commitment.Yoga, means ‘to yoke’, or union, and as such we have a responsibility to make union with our environment and extend our philosophy of non-violence to mother nature.
There are so many ways we can make better choices as yogis, from ethical yoga brands, enquiring with your local studio about their carbon impact, hosting a candle-lit class once a month rather than electricity or eating a meat free meal once a week with your family. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on ethical yoga brands and studios.
In the meantime, you can join the 1 Million Women movement here:http://1tonnechallenge.1millionwomen.com.au/
“There is no time to waste. This is a serious issue.” Natalie Isaacs – 1 Million Women.