TMM120 Leading from Home for Conservation

Welcome back to a little express session on the show with Al Ramadan co-founder of Play Bigger the category design guru and Nik Strong-Cvetich, who’s the executive director of Save The Waves Coalition. 

How Do We Lead in Conservation From Home

As directors, how do we take overwhelm of climate change, plastics, oceans, just everything that we’ve been bombarded with at the moment, which are just horrific messaging and going.

i.e is there one thing I can do on a micro level to make a difference. 

Al For me, at least at a personal level, it was overwhelming what choices and where I could make investments for climate change. It’s something I really care about. I care about what’s going to happen for the kids. What I found with Save The Waves was it connected with my passion. Surfing is a passion of mine. 

Ecosystems, the plants, the animals, the waves, the people, they are things that I want to see protected and intact.

That’s how I got involved with Save The Waves and the Benefits of protecting the ecosystem: 

  • If we are successful next set some insanely aggressive goals at thousands of ecosystems protected by 2030.
  • If we do all of that, that is going to have a very positive impact on climate change.

For me it was, get something that you’re passionate about, get on it and go see if you can help that organisation which is just part of the solution to the macro.

Nikki It’s already integrated in your daily life. I think that’s the thing. People get overwhelmed by things that they can’t tangibly touch. That tangibility for you of surfing ecosystems and then business provides that trifecta. Also, your wife, she doesn’t surf, but she’s massively into marine conservation. Now suddenly she has a platform too. 

Al:  That’s exactly right. Whilst I do surf, she enjoys the surf ecosystem. Don’t just think of it as being someone who’s a surfer. She will be walking along the top of the cliff looking at the ocean, looking at the artists in our part of Santa Cruz, whales.

Surf ecosystems have this wonderful thing. It’s a place where we go hang out and feel good.  So we can give back to the joy we give.

Nikki:  Nik how about your views – kids these days are coming home from school. They’re having stress anxiety and fear, terror from getting bombarded with the world is melting. These kids that are five and six are actually being nightmares about this overwhelmed.

You’ve got two young children. What would you say to parents that have kids trying to navigate through these massive messages at the moment? 

Nik S-V: Well, I think about it in terms of leadership. Your job as a parent is to be a leader. Then your job as a leader is problem-solving for it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or a nonprofit. You’re solving a problem. How do you do that as a leader is you take a big, huge problem and then you break it down into small pieces.

Then you take those pieces out and assign them to either partners or people underneath you. We actually did a really bad job sometimes in the environmental movement. I’m saying this on behalf of myself who has worked for 15 plus years in this field in. We tend to overwhelm people with all the stuff that’s happening. 

  • The ice sheet is melting
  • The whales dying and plastic ingestion. 
  • The turtle died because it had the struggle.
  • The koalas are on fire.

Then breaking it down to tackle it. It’s catastrophising, paralysing people. We need to stop doing that.

We need to start breaking into bite sized chunks that we can then tackle. There’s a lot of chunks out there. If we can start to make it down to the manageable pieces, then we’re going to make it go further.

If you can make manageable incremental changes and impact, you’re going to have bit by bit, by bit a huge impact on the whole. I think for kids, breaking it down towards the things that we can actually do on a day to day basis makes them have hope. 

Nikki: The thing that I’ve loved about the last few days together is this element of energy and fun. We’re playing in the ocean where people naturally pick up rubbish. We want kids to have fun with these ideas and to draw paintings of the ocean and be inspired by the glory of it, not the horror of it. 

Nik S-V That was funny slideshow that I’ve shown to Al before. I do it with a lot of corporate guests.

I go, “We have bombarded you with negative scenes.”  I talked about the turtle and seal dying.

I actually start out with a picture of a dad surfing with his daughter. They both have these giant smiles on your face. It’s about enhancing what’s fun and good and gives back to us rather than pumping up the negative and creating fear.

We have enough fear. Everyone’s scared of everything all the time. Let’s talk about the things we do love. 

Al: I think we find with involvement in Save The Waves is we all generally participate in the surf ecosystem together.

We had a moment the other night. We were just dedicated in the world surfing reserve here in Noosa, the 10th one. We had a paddle out and young Courtney Chin, who’s a 14 year old gal, got on a surfboard, paddled out into the middle of the circle and shared the stoke and shared the excitement. She had the love of that ecosystem with everybody else.

There was another time when I was actually out by myself. I ended up drifting down the point. I ended up running into one of the locals here. We just started talking about what’s going on.

It’s when you’re in that environment, all of the normal norms that get in the way of a conversation and all that things, they disappear. We’re just talking That’s really cool. You’re doing that while you’re conserving. That’s a really neat thing. 

Nikki: It’s conscious connection. It’s sharing the stoke.

What we’re asking society to do:

  • Got to have fun again
  • Kids not afraid of what’s out there
  • Not afraid to go out the front door
  • Run around 
  • Climb a tree
  • Discover an animal
  • Go on the beach. 
  • Get involved, get educated.

That’s that fun aspects.

What can you do that lights you up? Work with people that are really engaging, inspiring, and together you’re having fun. It’s very important that we flip it around from that horror show to this glory of, “Wow, look at our world. We’re in it.” Nobody else is going to come and change it for us. That relationships is very important. Relationships with your kids.

If you’re watching this/reading this and you go, “It’s too much.” I can’t cope then choose where you want to put your focus and find the fun in it. 

Nik SV: I think the environment is fun. It gives back to us. Let’s embrace that and then let’s make conservation fund that adds something to our life rather than avoiding something bad.

Let’s embrace what we have. Get out there and be part of it and then make it fun for ourselves to give back and have an impact. 

Nikki: That’s an energetic collective.

Al: If you want to participate and want to engage, savethewaves.org is the place to start. There are many different ways you can do that. 

Nikki: You do not have to be at a world surf heritage site. You don’t have to be in a famous world surf spot. You can be in your own community even if there’s no ocean around you. But if you are passionate about the ocean or water, that’s enough.

This is the lifeblood of our whole planet. I think if that’s all that it is for you and you’re involved in it, then don’t apologise for that.

It’s always an option to get involved. Come and hang out, stalk Nik online. If you can’t get hold of Nik, Lauren will be there. @savethewaves

We want to encourage you to lean in and keep it simple – instead of stepping away because the idea of conservation may be overwhelming”.

Step into stuff that lights you up because the rewards are amazing and the people that you will meet there will make it all worthwhile. That’s really what it’s all about. 

We want to inspire you to shift from fear into fantastic. Go have fun and do something you’re passionate about. It’s going to make the world of difference metaphorically and physically.

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Thanks for stopping by and tuning in – You know where to find us.

The Mojo Maker Podcast and VitalityCoachTV for more inspo.

Special thanks to Al and Nik for their time and insight.

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