What gives you hope?

22 September 2022 | Community in Action, Curiously Intercultural, Hot Topic

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Written by Ursula Brinkmann

It’s been an exceptional summer, with eternal sunshine and clear blue skies, every day as bright as the one before. Just five years ago, we may have simply enjoyed it and worked on our sun tan, not giving hope a second thought.  

These days, hot summers go paired with soaring heat waves, record droughts, fires, storms, and dreadful floodings – clear and terrifying impacts of climate change. If anything, this summer has sharpened the contrast between our (mostly) comfortable personal lives and the worrying state of the world. And while the warmth on our skin invites us to relax, an alarm clock is ticking in the back of our mind. Something is not right, something should be done about it, and we just don’t know what. So what gives you hope when it comes to climate change? 

Britannica defines hope as “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true (www.britannica.com/dictionary/hope; download 16 Sept 2022). Hope is the basis for action. In this newsletter, I’d like to introduce ideas and initiatives showing how meaningful action for climate benefit can be taken at all levels – by individuals, volunteer groups, networks, companies, professional associations, industry sectors, communities, societies and supranational organizations. 

My climate alarm went off in March 2020. It was the first lock down and my time on Twitter increased considerably. With the world in turmoil (the pandemic, Trump, #BLM), Twitter helped me feel connected to people outside. One evening, I clicked on a link to a talk by Professor Will Steffen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, on climate change, tipping points, planetary boundaries, and hothouse earth. After two nights of little sleep, I started reading, watching, and joining webinars. So much was happening already! I’ll never forget the launch of TED Countdown on 10-10-2020, a virtual global event with António Guterres, Al Gore, Olafur Eliasson, Don Cheadle, Mark Ruffalo, Johan Rockström, Luisa Neubauer, Christiana Figueres, Elif Shafak, Jane Fonda and Pope Francis, whom I could join from my living room. I was starting to feel like a member of a new and fantastic community, and decided to engage as a citizen beyond reducing my carbon footprint. Soon after, I joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby Netherlands (part of a global organization with over 200,000 members), and have been an active member since. But I am also an active member of the intercultural community, and this newsletter gives me the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite actions for climate benefit. In the months to come, I will write more about each of them. Please join the exchange, tell us what you do. What is your favourite action for climate benefit?


So here’s my list:

  • Let’s talk about climate change – even with your angry uncle. No chance for cynics when you invite Katherine Hayhoe to your family reunion. 
  • Our climate shadow – Stop freaking out about your carbon footprint, says Emma Pattee.   
  • Carbon offsets – From planting trees to buying pollution permits: Fly less, choose wisely
  • On biases and heroes – What we can all learn from Joe Kearns
  • Inner Development Goals (IDG) – The IDG framework promotes science-based skills and qualities that help us live purposeful, sustainable, and productive lives. Learn from Bjørn Ekelund, co-founder of the framework, whom I met in Malta at the SIETAR congress. 
  • Climate action groups – whether you’re choleric, melancholic, sanguine or phlegmatic, there’s action for every temperament 
  • Chicken or Egg? – Values lead to action, but can actions influence our values? We’ll look at top notch research by Linda Steg on companies sparking pro-environmental values through their corporate sustainability actions
  • Chicken or eggs? Get your PHD and make SIETAR the world’s first publisher of the Intercultural Planetary Health Diet cookbook 
  • Climate Speakers Network – How can you support your organization or your community with implementing better climate solutions? Contact this amazing network and find a speaker near you.
  • Tomorrow’s Economy – A guide to healthy growth by Norwegian psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, allowing us to live well without accepting inequality and depleting the planet’s resources 
  • Social Tipping Points – Can something social stabilize the planet’s climate? Can we, the people, keep the climate from hurling towards catastrophe by working together? Learn about the research by Iliana M Otto and her 13 co-authors on Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050. We’ll meet Anne-Marie Pronk, co-founder of the Social Tipping Point Coalition, to hear more about how each of us can help create social tipping points. 


Sincere thanks go to SIETAR Europa for starting this all too hot topic in our network, as part of its series of strategic actions for climate benefit.  

Got curious about your next action? Clear your agenda and 

Join the Global Climate Strike on Friday, 23 September 2022!

To find an empowering strike near you, check out www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/global-climate-strike-fridays-future-what-to-know/ 


Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your comments and thoughts. 

Ursula Brinkmann

Intercultural Business Improvement 

Hilversum, The Netherlands 

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