Are you working in sustainability and frustrated that people you work with – management, clients, staff – or your constituents just don’t get it? Maybe you are on the receiving end of sideways glances from family and friends when you try to talk to them about sustainability?
Whatever your frustrations or blockers are in getting people to GET IT – I can pretty much guarantee you I’ve been there. I empathise with people who are struggling for a better way to connect with people who may hold different values to their own, or may process ideas and information differently.
I’m Sharon Ede, and I’ve been working in the environment and sustainability movement since 1993, as both an NGO volunteer, and in government. In 2010, I co-founded the Post Growth Institute (PGI) to help spark a movement for ‘the end of bigger, the start of better’. I’ve been a speaker, guest lecturer, activist, and worked at the coalface of community development and organisational change for sustainability.
My expertise is drawn from the school of life, the real world – using a range of methods to communicate complex ideas and translating it from ‘sustainability-speak’ to a variety of audiences (‘why should I care about my Ecological Footprint?’); supporting others to bring about change (‘why won’t #$&*@ people put the right things in the right recycling bins?’); helping people with understanding the issues so they can make better decisions (‘what kind of copy paper should we buy?’).
BUT over time, I have become increasingly, fist-clenchingly, gut-wrenchingly, toe-curlingly maddened that we have not yet – not really – communicated the bigger sustainability challenge picture to people in a way that might make all those little decisions easier.
From my perspective, the vast majority of sustainability communication is either missing in action (not happening), missing the mark (not hitting the target audience/s in a way that resonates) or missing the point (focusing on the wrong thing).
So much of our sustainability communications is the equivalent of shouting loudly at someone who does not speak our own language! Becoming ever more strident, earnest, or scary is not going to create the shift.
And you know what? If people aren’t getting it, that’s not their fault – its OUR fault, because its our responsibility to frame and communicate our messages so they Resonate.
It’s my personal quest to discover how to ignite the concern within people to understand the need for action on the sustainability challenge by rapidly increasing sustainability literacy.
That’s why I’ve established Cruxcatalyst.
I want to share what I’ve learned over nearly twenty years in this caper, and bring you the kinds of great examples of change-making communication I’m finding – within and beyond the sustainability sphere – to arm you with better ways of getting your message across. I also curate what I consider to be the best sustainability stories and bring them to you – by ‘the best’, I mean what’s happening any where in the world that is system-changing at any scale, not a tweak of our existing modus operandi, because while the latter might buy us a bit of time, tweaks alone are not going to cut it.
Now, I need to clarify with you what Cruxcatalyst is about.
Crux is not going to:
- help you get your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility report written…
- give you a strategy to help your organisation win a campaign…
- offer advice on how to ‘green’ your organisation or household…
- it won’t even result in the calculation of your carbon footprint…
Sorry about that. But there’s already a bunch of folks out there that can help you with those needs.
Crux is about supporting sustainability leaders – that’s you! – in being more effective change agents, and doing so in a compassionate, fun, engaging and irreverent way.
My aim is to make this as accessible as possible, to provide a layperson’s resource, with a special commitment to:
The Truth of Sustainability – focusing on the cultural and social shift rather than the technical and engineering ‘solutions’, minus the b/s; no (unexplained) jargon, no academic mumbo-jumbo, no airy-fairy stuff, no punch-pulling and no pussyfooting around
The Heart of Sustainability – communications approaches and examples that speak to the heart as well as the head; caring for the hearts and wellbeing of sustainability change agents
I hope you’ll let me know if I’m delivering on this for you. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do like asking questions, working through ideas, and thinking them through with others. It’s a journey we’re all on together.
About the Name
The word itself is one I invented:
crux, meaning both at the core (or the crossroads), and also rather aptly in relation to sustainability:
— n , pl cruxes , cruces
1. a vital or decisive stage, point
2. a baffling problem or difficulty
Crux is also the formal (Latin) astronomical name for the Southern Cross (crux australis), a constellation in the southern hemisphere
catalyst, meaning change agent
1. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change