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Addressing Climate Change as Coaches and Individuals

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 23/08/2019

Earlier this year, Erickson Founder - Marilyn Atkinson, hosted a town hall meeting in her home city of North Vancouver in BC, Canada to discuss the many environmental and societal issues that millions around the world are facing. During the event, many participants shared the inspiring and unique ways that they are combating climate change and environmental issues on the individual level. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when looking to resolve such urgent, global-scale challenges, but as these individuals proved, there are many simple, impactful shifts we can each make to bring positive change to the situation.

So, how can we inspire change within ourselves and others, to face these challenges head-on? Erickson is already committed to several environmental initiatives, and after hearing the steps the town hall attendees were taking to reduce their carbon footprint, the Erickson team was inspired to evaluate areas of their personal lives and how they can decrease their environmental impact. We're happy to share their stories of the steps they are taking to lead more sustainable and environmentally-conscious lifestyles.

Marilyn Atkinson & Lawrence McGinnis
Erickson Founder/President & Executive Director

We will personally plant at least 10 trees this summer, and I hope these Empress trees can be found in BC. It is a new idea. We need a continent of new trees.

Lawrence and I are buying a solar system for the home this summer. (It will be paid back in 3 years, help to end our hydro bills, and will almost completely end our gas use in the house. I highly recommend this to everyone.) The sun does not send electricity bills!

We are looking at what may be the best and the cheapest electric car to buy. We were told that good second-hand electric vehicles are now on the market as previous owners are upgrading. They have very little wear and tear compared to gasoline engine cars. We will be able to plug it into our electric home source, and even add in a converter in case of power failure from the grid.

Marilyn will also pay a carbon tax when flying and use the tax, since we have a choice, on a project to seal off methane emission from old, unused coal mines in British Columbia. Methane is 27 times stronger than carbon in affecting the atmosphere.

Lawrence has made the decision that due to the dangerous current emission levels he will not join Marilyn on her teaching tours


Amy Davis-Bruner, M.Ed, PCC
Erickson Facilitator

To help reduce my carbon footprint, I've had solar panels installed at my home, as well as a water filtration system (no plastic bottles at home policy). When home, I bike, walk and use public transportation which also helps to keep my fit. We have a family car share, a signup sheet established for 5 drivers to use 1 car. We now also use an electric lawnmower to cut down on air and sound pollution. There are other things that can be done locally, such as voting for taxation to maintain the city's green spaces.

When shopping for groceries, I use farmers markets for local, clean food purchases. It's healthy and helps to eliminate plastic wrapping that is used in grocery stores. I also bring my own reusable grocery bags when shopping. 

There are also digital ways you can commit to being more eco-friendly! I am in an online neighborhood networking group to share resources and buy less. I am also an online Erickson Facilitator, which reduces the carbon emissions associated with traveling. 


Ruzena Rosa Tkacova, MD, Ph.D., ACC
Erickson Teaching Assistant

At home, we have installed roller shades that reflect light/warmth to keep our condominium reasonably cool without needing to use air conditioning. The Vancouver-based company told me that in all new developments here such shades are being installed to prevent from overuse of air conditioning. 

I am also committed to composting, using only reusable eco-friendly shopping bags, only decomposable garbage bags, getting second-hand clothes from thrift stores (my daughter insists on this), buying local produce with no unnecessary packaging, the overall reduction of consumption, and very importantly, being vegetarian (almost vegan). 


Janean Strong
Erickson Alumni

Eight years ago my husband and I bought an off-grid homestead in the Kootenay Mountains in eastern British Columbia. Running an off-grid house is fairly normal, except that everything has to be scheduled. We are solar with a large battery bank and a backup propane generator. While we were off the grid I couldn’t use most of my electric appliances except when the generator was running. Otherwise, the battery bank would drain. So, vacuuming, washing clothes, using the dryer in the winter etc. had to be done with the generator running. Anything that uses a lot of wattages. There are many compromises I made that I felt rather proud to do. 

The problem is, the farther north you go the less sun and as the years went by we were running the propane generator more and more in the winter. It is an inefficient way to charge up the batteries, it’s noisy and uses propane. The electric fence wasn’t on one winter as it was solar-powered and a cougar got in and killed half my flock of chickens and most of my ducks. So, a year and a half ago my husband talked me into hooking up to outside power. I really didn’t want to do it because a big reason for buying this place out was that it was off-grid. 

Now I am so grateful to have a hybrid system. We no longer need the generator unless the power goes out for an extended period. I can just push a button on the wall in the kitchen to charge up the batteries. I feel like I have so much more flexibility. The solar panels and Abacus Array (for hot water) are still working. We heat with wood and have some in-floor heating. I often use my wood cookstove in the winter instead of my propane stove and in the summer the cookstove is a great shelf for canning activities. We have an orchard, berries, and gardens – all organic! 

Our water comes from the mountains and is filtered through rocks and sand for 4,000+ feet. So it is naturally vortexed, refreshing and healthy. The air is clean and clear as long as there aren’t any forest fires. 

I use my own grocery bags, mesh produce bags instead of plastic and we reuse plastic zip-lock bags until they can no longer be used. Everyone in the house has their own water bottle, including my dog. We buy in bulk as much as possible. I recently bought an electric assist Fat Tire Bike and now, when I go into our village to do errands, I ride my bike instead of taking my cars. 

Food is not wasted here. Whatever the chickens won’t eat (and they will chow down on almost anything) ends up in the compost bin!


Christopher Cooke, MSc, BA, FRSA
Erickson Alumni

Below are some videos to fuel the discussion and also a paper that is a great example of the paradigm-shifting that is occurring. My vision is that EVERY COACH on the planet should be equipped to teach, educate, facilitate, demonstrate, verify a decision making discipline that tests all decisions all choices against the impact upon Earth’s ecosystem processes. This, I believe, offers any coach a portfolio lifestyle that will be truly world-changing – imagine!

Here are the videos – this is an emergent 2nd Tier thinker. Watch closely and note your responses to the challenges and assertions. If you feel outraged this may well be the new you waiting to be born struggling with the power of the old you – so watch on and be prepared to be surprised. If you are drawn in and inspired with questions. You are the initial lead team for what I propose. Remember that the Holistic Decision Making Framework is applicable across all social contexts. I am currently developing demonstrations for Policy-making in the UK and Welsh Governments. The syllabus is established – all materials are tested and in use. Could start mass training of coaches across every country of planet in January 2020.

Allan Savory – Day 1 Keynote At Groundswell June 26, 2019 [Part 1]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPqhebuf2dM

Allan Savory – Day 2 Keynote At Groundswell June 27, 2019 [Part 2]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T12ak7CHFCo


As individuals, we have the power to make small and sustainable, but impactful changes within our daily lives to address these global environmental issues and protect our planet. Adjusting our habits in areas like household energy usage, consumption of goods, travel, food and diet, consumption of goods and services are some of the simple ways we can address the challenges facing our environment.

“Change only happens when individuals take action,” Aliya Haq, Climate and Energy special projects director at NRDC, says. “There’s no other way if it doesn’t start with people.”