Main goal: to give sustainability more relevance to everyday life.
I guess the answer “because… why not having a side project?” is slightly cheesy?
Well the true story is: I was applying for an internship with a company’s CSR department who asked a communications background, which I don’t have. To prove that I am capable of the work while have an academic background in sustainability, I started learning the basics (graphic design, color schemes, fonts, presentation, the adobe package and etc) with the help of many friends and online sources.
Though I still can’t call myself a pro at communications, this venture connected some dots for me. I had experiences with the communications barriers that kept scientists from understanding each other and being understood by the public when I was working as a cell biology researcher in college. It can be challenging to explain specialized scientific jargon, even to another scientist. Let alone convincing non-scientists that this small protein I studied could potentially help treat cancer in the future. I had some practice to simplify the logic and story line from presenting my poster at conferences, often to non-scientific audience. But the challenge of making science appealing to the mass audience remains (Here is a nice article I came across on science communication Science communication: both a science and an art).
Story telling is key and its power is becoming more and more recognized across industries. Charity campaigns are switching from presenting large data of impact to telling touching stories about individuals as they are much more relatable to the public. Even though people with important messages are catching up and getting better at reaching out to the public for their support, they still have quite a long way to go. As I came across the sad truth when working an NGO whose blog posts about their wonderful work bringing water or sanitation facilities to underdeveloped regions only get 60-70 visits on average.
How can we (people working in charity/sustainability/nature preservation…) be better heard?
Last year, I took a class on business strategies, where I learned that the goal of effective marketing is to get the public to talk about the things/concepts/messages you want to sell in their daily chats (or “fika” in Sweden).
So that became my goal for sustainability “marketing”. While the word “sustainability” has been overly exploited recently by corporations’ branding strategies, I want to take the notion down from the golden pedestal and make it more relatable and understandable to the public and hopefully transform it into actionable bite sized information for anyone who cares about the social, economical and environmental well being.
So in a nutshell, I built this site to be a story teller with tales of my sustainability discoveries, for professionals and non-professionals alike.
Communication is a recognized barrier in my field, while I cannot take the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, I can contribute to better communicating its danger. I am in the sustainability field, with a wide range of interests and constant access to relevant news& blogs from all forms of media. I am addicted to sharing sustainability ideas, inspirations and discoveries that my existing channels, a Facebook page for sustainability young professionals, and friends who are regular victims of my ramblings (thanks love) aren’t enough anymore. So I decided to tell the stories here, and to experiment and learn to get better at reach the wider public.
From my first two months of blogging and getting feedback. I came to the realization that I need to further target my audiences separately. The “professionals” and the public have quite different understanding of sustainability so to write something appealing to both groups, I need to put more effort in tailoring my logic and language.
The menu “Sustainability Thoughts” is for fellow sustainability professionals who already care a great deal and often think about relevant issues. I will write about new insights, debates and analysis about sustainability topics I come across, for example a philosophical discussion about Denmark’s red meat tax.
The menu “Sustainability Communication” is for “professionals” and “unprofessionals” alike. I will experiment rising awareness and spreading knowledge in a way that is interesting to the public.
Of course it is more than a bit intimidating putting my thoughts out there for the world to judge, but what matters is my goal to share, to discuss and most important, to learn through blogging to the public. One thing (among many other things) I learned from my philosophy classes and philosophy club discussions is that ideas should be discussed because that’s how we find the gaps in out knowledge and differences in our understandings and opinions of the world. Communication plays such an important role in the up-scaling of any kind of development and progress.
The website also serves some additionally purposes:
“Urban Circular Economy” is about my master thesis topic and is one of my biggest professional interests. I use it to record and collect my learning along the journey of development. It is also for professional with similar interest and specialty.
“Personal Growth” is about, well, personal growth. I want to have a record of my personal and professional growth, the ups and downs, fantasies and disillusions, achievements and failures along the journey; as well as inspirations from good books and podcasts. Maybe it will even be of some value for other young sustainability professionals like me.