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Allison's journey with Carbon Conversations TO

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Written by: Jodi Lastman

“I like to envision the whole world as a jigsaw puzzle … If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying, but if you work on your little part of the jigsaw and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope.” - Jane Goodall

Contemplating climate change and its impact can trigger an onslaught of feelings–concern, fear, worry, sadness and a sense of being utterly overwhelmed and paralyzed. Carbon Conversations TO, has a way to help you start talking about how you feel about climate change and carbon reduction in order to help you find motivation, support, and answer to act on climate change.

Carbon Conversations TO invites participants to attend six focused workshops, each of which delves into a particular climate change topic such as home energy use, travel and transportation and food consumption. Each of the conversations are facilitated by experienced guides who help participants look closely at how their habits impact climate change, and engage in judgement-free group discussions exploring feelings and emotions that can prevent us from implementing actions that can reduce one’s contribution to climate change.

Allison, one of the participants who experienced the six-week program felt that just the act of signing up for Carbon Conversations was a personal declaration that she would try to take responsibility for the impact of her actions instead of just ignoring. Carbon Conversations helped Allison move past the feeling of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear of climate change and instead, gave her the space to address her behaviours, and values, one at a time.

“There are so many things you can do. But, you can’t do everything at once. The goal for me, is just to live my life in a way that is in alignment with my values,” said Allison.

Carbon Conversations TO participant Allison smiles to the camera
Image credit: Allison Merz

A significant part of the Carbon Conversations journey is exploring one’s personal values with an eye to uncovering how one’s values align with making small behavioural changes. At the same time, participants are invited to explore the other influences, like convenience, cost and other people that can stand in the way of making lifestyle changes that can significantly impact climate change.

Carbon Conversations TO also adds a practical lens to carbon reduction by helping participants explore facts related to their carbon footprint and use practical tools to measure and create a sustainable footprint reduction plan.

When Allison applied these practical measurement tools to her own life, she was surprised that her carbon footprint was higher than she expected it to be. While she wasn’t able to tackle her current car usage (which had increased upon moving outside the city) she could take on her meat consumption and make food purchases to significantly lower her carbon footprint.

Brianna says that participants are frequently surprised by how small adjustments can not only reduce one’s carbon footprint but also create a positive feedback loop that leads to a greater openness to future changes that participants can tackle when the time is right.

This virtuous cycle starts with making the six-week commitment to Carbon Conversations. In our busy lives, it helps carve out the psychic space to face our fears, address our emotions and values and create a plan for action that brings positive benefits that inspire further change. Otherwise, change is very unlikely to happen.

If you want to engage in the process, we invite you to reach out and find a date to start the conversation so that you can move from fear and inaction to behaviour and actions that are more aligned with who you want to be in the world. It’s not easy, but, it requires carving out the time to look at each jigsaw puzzle piece and move forward with a plan.

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