Skip to content

A little less conversation, a little more action: how to tackle the climate crisis

11 November 2022

“I am done with words, and only want to work with people taking action” – Sian Sutherland, co-founder, A Plastic Planet

Greta Thunberg’s voice again this week cut through the noise of climate talks. Criticising COP27 as a “greenwashing” conference, the young activist brought to attention the need for action over conversation. 

The climate crisis – as described by one of our guests Bella Lack – is an “umbrella term” and in order to effect change, issues must be tackled in segments, by individuals who can channel specific passion. Bella, along with other recent guests: Jason Knights, Elisa Moscolin, Tom McGillycuddy and Sian Sutherland, are all taking action in more specific ways, to weather the climate storm.

Bella Lack: channelling emotion into action 

At only 19, Bella believes she can change the world… and we believe her. Having been described as the ‘British Greta Thunberg’, her book Children of the Anthropocene, has been described as an ‘inspirational manifesto for change’ by Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP. 

Bella ignites passion in the issues, telling Michael that emotion can speak to people in ways that science can not. It is through an emotional connection that people will make change, which is exactly what Bella looks to achieve in her book, giving a voice to underrepresented children at the heart of the climate crisis. 

Redefining the meaning of the ‘snowflake generation’, she says that her generation’s ability to feel and care deeply for the natural world is a strength, never to be mistaken for a weakness. As Bella tells Michael, “snowflakes accumulate into snowstorms”. 

When channelled into action, emotion – or in this case ecoanxiety – can result in explosive change. Bella is a community rallyer, both an action taker and an action instigator who has proved that when it comes to making change, age is only a number. 

Listen to Bella’s Change Makers episode here and follow her @bellalack

Jason Knights: harnessing the power of biodiversity 

Jason Knights is ‘an ecowarrior with a difference’, using business as a tool to increase biodiversity. He has channelled his passion for the environment into a tangible sector that allows him to take action and affect some change. 

As the Managing Director of Ground Control, a company with a vision to leave the world better than when we found it, Jason notes how consumers want to work with companies on a trajectory for change. And providing the most economic solutions for its 55,000 clients across England and Scotland is not sufficient. With 5% of Ground Control’s profits going into an evergreen fund, the company ‘puts its money where its mouth is’.

Jason adds that for satisfaction, capitalist value must now be accompanied by environmental value, and criticises COP26’s outcomes and goals for being unachievable; asking for COP15 in December 2022 to provide a tangible measurement or directive for biodiversity, like there is for carbon and our net-zero future. 

Ultimately he says, words must turn into action, and the results from that action must be measurable in order to steer everyone in the right direction. 

Listen to Jason’s Change Makers episode here and follow him @groundcontrolgc

Elisa Moscolin: injecting sustainability into business

Elisa Moscolin is otherwise known as the ‘activist in a suit’. And the Executive Vice President of Sustainability for Sage has a call to action to integrate sustainability into the hearts of business. 

Businesses are the core of our society and are an undeniable source of power. Think of the positive impact they have on our economy and then imagine the synonymous impact they could have on the environment – this is where Elisa comes in. 

As a business-orientated activist, Elisa surprises people when she tells them ‘for me, business comes first’ and talks of financial sustainability being a crucial ingredient to environmental sustainability. She has an ‘everyone can win’ mentality, generating success through cooperation and innovation, adding that ‘it’s an incredibly frustrating job trying to change the world, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling’. 

In that context, Elisa knows sustainability is never black and white, especially when it comes to business. Altering what lies at the heart of a company can never be straightforward and in her interview with Michael, Elisa talks of the “sustainability tango” where with every few steps forward you may take a couple back. But as long as ‘the choreography is right, then you are doing the right thing’.

Listen to Elisa’s Change Makers episode here and follow @sageofficial

Tom McGillycuddy: investing in a human future 

Question: how can we ensure people will be here in the year 5000? Tom McGillycuddy’s answer is impact investing, as the co-founder of CIRCA5000, described as ‘the investment platform of the future’. 

A company whose brand imagery does not include a single individual, for ‘there is no guarantee of our future on this planet without taking action’. With ‘people and the planet’ the overarching themes of the business, Tom and CIRCA5000 stand for positive futurism – motivating capital markets and big corporations to be a part of climate action, and only investing money after deep investigative dives that ensure investment into organisations that practise ‘pure play’.

With a society that’s becoming increasingly aware of its impact on the planet and the consequences of their actions, CIRCA5000 offers consumers investment opportunities that provide the bonus of a feel good factor. 

Only a couple of years into his journey, Tom is hoping CIRCA5000 becomes a leading light in the investment sector, due to the positive impact it is having. Only 2978 years to go…

Listen to Tom’s Change Makers episode here and follow @circa5000

Sian Sutherland: turning off the plastic tap 

With COP27 in play, the world is seeking out answers to our climate crisis. If only they took more of a focus on plastic. As a ‘plastic sinner’ in her former life, Sian enters the climate battle with one clear motive: ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap. 

As co-founder of A Plastic Planet, Sian wants to swap out the placebo pill of ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’ that we have been swallowing for years for ‘reduce, refill and replace’. This is a change that needs to filter down from the top. And Sian calls on governments and businesses to recognise plastic as the climate hazard that it is: ‘It’s the industry’s job to sell us something different and it’s the government’s job to mandate they do it fast’.

In her interview, Sian emphasises the need to move forward. She sees both the light in our future and has the roadmap to get there. Drawing hope from the young, and the creative minds of budding leaders, Sian envisions a new way to be, believing: ‘if we fix the plastic crisis we indirectly fix so much else.’ 

Sian champions plastic as a catalyst for change. Her passion is evident and her direction is clear. Refreshingly, Sian is ‘done with words and only wants to work with people taking action’. Perhaps, there’s a song that says the same thing.

Listen to Sian’s Change Makers episode here and follow her @aplasticplanet

Subscribe to Change Makers Podcast