A week ago today I sent a Facebook post prompted by my own deep personal discomfort with the shameful, disrespectful treatment that Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had been subjected to at the hands of a now-sacked Perth talkback radio shock jock, Howard Sattler.
That post spread like wildfire from the followers of 1 Million Women, with almost 900 shares and 7500-plus likes, and when I followed it up with a blog post that had almost 5000 hits and also was shared widely.
I won’t go over the same ground again, except to thank everyone for the overwhelming support my thoughts gained from the 1 Million Women fraternity, and for the (mainly) beautiful feedback I’ve received both online and in person.
In the days since, however, I’ve been having a good hard think about what respect and kindness really mean; and how does that transfer to the way that we are treating the planet, our one planet, the most important ‘institution’ imaginable for humanity?
I’ve come to this conclusion, we need to start treating ourselves and other people better to truly help the planet. If you’re not feeling good about yourself, how can you feel good about helping someone else – or the environment?
When I ran my cosmetics company, which I did for 20 years before founding 1 Million Women several years ago, we often asked the question: ‘What does it mean to be truly beautiful?’
I would always say that true beauty comes from within. That inner peace, wellbeing and calmness are what makes you truly beautiful and to be frank it actually doesn’t matter how much you spend on skincare products if you don’t marry this up with a holistic approach.
In other words: It doesn’t matter what you’re putting on to your skin, if you’re not working on the inside. Superficial treatments just won’t fix everything. Creams and lotions won’t compensate for internal anger, unhappiness, poor diets and so on .
Now, I’m applying much the same thinking to 1 Million Women and our mission to get on with action on climate change through how we live in our daily lives. We need to think of climate change holistically, and we can’t expect others to fix things while we sit back and wait.
Climate change is just a symptom of a much bigger problem, which is humanity itself, us, and especially the wasteful and polluting economy we’ve created in wealthy developed world countries like Australia and America. We are living in denial, we are disconnected from the consequences of how we live, and many of us are strangely dissatisfied with having so much stuff.
We can have moments of personal serenity – during a yoga class, quality time with family and friends, or on a holiday getaway – but then it’s over as quickly as it began, back to business as usual. Individuals without even knowing it can be unfulfilled and unhappy, in the midst of plenty, because true happiness and fulfilment come from within us.
We are truly arrogant as humans to think that we can keep consuming the earth’s resources at such a pace, taking them for granted and then dumping them. Quite simply we are disrespecting our own home, Mother Earth.
The behaviour change we need is about finding life tools to actually change the framework of a situation, or a whole system. Climate change is the face of a much larger issue, and we are women working together to transform the way that we live in order to stop dangerous climate change.
To work on you the person is to work on the planet.
Natalie Isaacs, Founder, 1 Million Women