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Turn Your Sustainability Sacrifices into a Joyful Game with Claudia Ruane (Episode #149)

Dr. Lynda sits down with Claudia Ruane from an amazing company, Do Nation, that is turning the loss and sacrifice model of “living sustainably” on its head and making it possible for people to change habits and feel expansive, important, and energized. Do Nation is connecting businesses and all of us as individuals—each in our own way—to small acts that can really move the needle in mitigating climate change and putting a spring back in our steps. 

Episode Highlights

About Our Guest:

The minute you hit the homepage of Do Nation (at WeAreDoNation.com) you realize someone has finally found a path to helping businesses and individuals access the process of participating in climate change mitigation with a new mindset that feels both joyful, impactful and deeply connected to others. 

Yes, there is a growing swirl of success brewing in the world of small acts that make a big difference in creating a sustainable world: 168,587 Pledges of action (Sustainability swaps, not money) and counting!

Right there on the homepage you see ways to make doing your small part feel like an adventure with others, and there’s a sense of belonging, community, and infinite possibility. 

These are the new days of “living sustainably,” where innovators are making connections that no one ever thought to make while solving problems with ideas that would have seemed miles apart. 

Take the choices given to us at the top of Do Nation’s homepage: There are two boxes. 

Click one box and you can help your employer attract and retain great people who will be wonderful co-workers in your life. Do Nation will help them set up fun group initiatives for sustainability activities that foster health and happiness throughout the workplace culture in companies, schools and nonprofits. 

Click the other box and as an individual, you can create your own “challenge” to invite your friends on a small climate mitigation journey with you. 

Perhaps, instead of wedding presents, you can challenge your guest to commit to some particular habit change in the weeks leading up to your wedding, and then bring a poster of their accomplishment to the ceremony as a gift. Or, for instance, Robbie Sutherland climbed Arthur’s Seat (the 2 hour hike up to Edinburgh’s 14th Castle) repeatedly for 24 hours and preferred asking his network to pledge actions, not cash, to support him.

The possibilities are endless, and so are the outcomes of this wonderful effort to make the sacrifices of living sustainably fun and in community with others. 

For organizations, DoNation is helping develop great work cultures where people work with a sense of contribution. For people looking to make a difference, they help them create meaningful projects and involve their circles of friends, family and co-workers.

DoNation has worked with 500 organizations across 100 countries, and nearly 60,000 people have pledged. Together, their action community is saving the equivalent carbon emissions of driving around the world 4,500 times.

In this interview, Claudia shares some insights that can open the doors to a new future for you. Who knows what is possible?! 

What we do know is that throughout human history, people succeed in groups. And if we want to turn the tide on climate change, we must do it together. And with what we hear from Claudia, it can be a load of fun and adventure. 


Show Notes

00:00 Intro & Welcome

05:02 Joys of Sustainability

  • Climate change is a major issue.
  • People can feel overwhelmed when thinking about climate change.
  • Simple changes can give us the confidence to positively impact climate change.

07:21 Stubborn Optimism

  • Cladia recommends “The Future We Choose” by Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac.
  • Stubborn optimism is about tapping into human power and agency.
  • We have the human capacity, technology, ideas and finance to solve climate change.
  • Stubborn optimism moves us from simply hoping that things will change to owning our own roles in climate change.

10:20 Founder’s Story

  • Do Nation was founded by Hermione Taylor.
  • Hermione cycled from London to Morocco to North Africa and asked friends and family to make a small pledge to climate action.
  • The action pledges included small changes such as:
    1. Cycling to work once a week.
    2. Eating less meat.
    3. Turning down thermostats.
  • The impact of all the pledges amounted to saving 82 flights from London to Morocco.

14:19 Do Nation for Individuals

  • The individual side of the Do Nation website facilitates the pledging of actions toward climate change rather than donating money.
  • There’s a ripple effect to small climate change actions.

21:12 Break

23:38 Quick Tips

  • Get reusable coffee mugs.
  • Move money to banks that invest in ethical and sustainable companies.
  • Request that your pension provider choose more ethical and sustainable funds.
  • Replace plastic shopping bags with cotton shopping bags.

27:22 Action is the Antidote to Anxiety

  • Trying something is going to help the anxiety surrounding climate change.
  • 70% of people in the UK are worried about climate change.
  • It can be overwhelming to think about a problem as big as climate change.
  • Taking action makes us feel better.
  • Being a part of the sustainability community is empowering.

33:33 Do Nation for Businesses

  • The “Donate by Doing” campaign worked so well among individuals that a smoothie company approached Do Nation to help them implement programs for companies.
  • Do Nation now provides a digital platform for people to pledge as teams.
  • Do Nations works with Multi Nationals and companies of all sizes to set company goals and set action programs.
  • Friendly competition and community building are at the core of the Do Nation business platform.

43:22 What Do You Wish People Knew?

  • You are amazing.
  • You can achieve anything.
  • Act on your values.

45:57 Closing

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