5 Lessons From Changing The World
By Elliot Connor
2019 CoalitionWILD Ambassador
Here at CoalitionWILD, we have heaps of amazing young people all over the world doing incredible work to create a planet where people and nature thrive. But as many of you know all too well, change-making is far from easy.
We spoke to some of our youth leaders to get their advice on how to overcome some of the challenges they faced. Here are their five top tips on creating change:
1. Do what you believe in.
This is by far the most important message we got from those we interviewed, repeated time and again. Perhaps you feel unsure of your idea, don’t know where to start or if it’s even possible – it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re doing what you’re passionate about and you stick to it, something’s guaranteed to work out. Nouhad Awwad (29) from Lebanon stresses “Don’t follow others. Don’t try to copy others or see what others are doing. Do what you feel is the right thing that can create a change in its own way.”
2. Never give up.
Of course at times you’re going to feel a little dispirited, maybe you’ve lost sight of where you’re going and what the end destination is. So take some time alone and reflect on exactly what it was that brought you here and on the difference you want to make in the world. The great thing about doing what you love is that no matter what, your motivation will always come back. Canadian eco-entrepreneur Kaya Dorey (31) tells us: “You know it’s real when that passes and you always come back wanting to pursue and accomplish the same vision.”
3. Stand out from the crowd.
Be confident in what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to do something different. Nobody wants to hear about just another day in the office, so it’s okay to be proud of your other pursuits. There’s great fun to be had in just stepping off the beaten track and doing your own thing, so enjoy it. As coral-farmer Gator Halpern (29) from the Bahamas says: “There’s a lot of pressure to fit into a traditional lifestyle with a 9-5 job and a stable career, but that’s just one story of how to live your life. You can choose not to listen to that story, but to create your own, doing what you really care about.”
4. Ask for help.
There’s no need to change the world on your own. If you’ve got a vision or an idea, I guarantee you there are also lots of people who are willing to stand by your side. Share your work with your friends, family, connections, and people you’ve never even met – there’s no limit to who should or shouldn’t hear about it, so just keep on spreading the word. Adam Dixon (27) works on sustainable agriculture in the UK, and advises: “People, people management, and networking are key – there is someone out there who can turn your idea into a big success, you just have to search hard enough to find them.”
5. Celebrate Success!
We’ve talked a bit above about how important it is to keep your momentum up with what you do, but it’s just as important for you to look after yourself. The easiest way to do this is just to take pleasure in small successes – whether you’ve got a new contributor, some financial backing, or recognition for your work. I like to do a little fist-pump, and you’d be amazed just how good this feels. Sustainability blogger Diana Garlytska (31) from Ukraine instructs: “Regardless how challenging it gets, in the end it will work out…every small step counts.”
CoalitionWILD change-makers (L-R Gator Halpern, Kaya Dorey, Diana Garlytska, Adam Dixon, Nouhad Awwad)
So there it is: a five-step recipe for success, no matter what it is you want to do. On behalf of CoalitionWILD, I’d like to wish you all the best in your pursuits. And remember – between you and me, there’s nothing quite so fun as saving our planet!!!
Elliot is the founder of Human Nature Projects, a charity aiming to reconnect people to the planet, creating a conservation community which is both accessible and empowering to those involved. He is the Australian Country Mobiliser for the Youth for Our Planet movement, Ambassador to the Laurence Anthony Earth Organization and a recent addition to the Jane Goodall Institute Australia’s National Youth Leadership Council. Elliot seeks to act as a voice for biodiversity, for the environment – all of those downtrodden, unrepresented lifeforms which suffer at the hands of mankind’s advancement. He believes passionately that society as a whole must soon recognize its ties with the natural world and act on these if we are ever to achieve the prosperous future we all aspire towards.