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#Green issues are also a diplomacy issue: towards a #Green #Global #Diplomacy… by @MarIntroini

The digital sculpture “Mother morning” shows the hidden treasure of climate change action: the strength of diplomacy. A pillar that is within activists, environmental organizations and leaders however, is not being used in its full potential and there is not a consolidated green diplomacy. Traditional channels of diplomacy are not enough and even COP21 shows that its possible we urgently need to rebuild a diplomatic sense of global green joint action.



Green issues needs “power of influence” that takes shape with a solid structure around diplomacy. Commitment from civil society is important but could easily be transformed in a useless resource if is not focused in a strategy encompassing global leaders and institutions.

Under current crisis of leadership and institutions particularly at global level, is very difficult to build a sphere of influence. Global institutions are not reliable to assure the sustainability of green initiatives and work as a defense against financial private interests. Current trend from US of destroying a “green vision” are making universal attempts very challenging for building a green diplomacy. The threat to abandon COP21 is a tangible expression of its boycott.

Is it clear that a weak leadership leads to a diplomacy failure hence reducing the levels of influence below minimum standards. Making of the political stage the only way-out to achieve results. For getting to a green culture is paramount to build around several pillars do not just rely on politics. That’s one of the main factors to support the development of a “green diplomacy” as there is not a tangible link private-civil-society-financial world-politicians and citizens interests. There are common interests but not a good and strong diplomacy able to link all this pillars around a common goal. Is it so, that political decisions like climate change denier Donald Trump are more harmful that ever and it looks closer to a dictatorship decision rather to a democratic elected leader. Erasing past ideological Administration focus constitutes a different nature from denial what the majority of the citizens are demanding. Indeed, 7 of 10 Americans want to emphasize alternative energy (not oil, gas and coal). That means democracy. There is no room for debate when there are authoritarian political decisions that undermine citizenship majority will.

If the argumentation is that there are also financial interests around clean energies there is also better and worse interests around remain in the same stage of contamination that is killing the planet. Scientifically and by common sense climate change devastating impact is being proven along the last 50 years.

Becoming sustainable shouldn’t remain just a political decision above citizenship´s interests. Mass ignorance and short termism is not an excuse for not proceeding. Even with a different focus but without erasing all green strategies without giving an alternative model for current climate threats.

In a surprisingly political momentum of climate change denial, an intense work of influence becomes paramount to overcome this overwhelming tendency to destroy global initiatives and it is the development of a global green diplomacy that could rescue us from this chaotic and threatening momentum for climate change action.

The only way to become resilient is to gather together around a global green diplomacy more than a green agreement. In which, leaders, institutions and civil societies participate in a permanent basis of joint action and a structure –not necessary formal- in which commitment with green becomes influence. Green political parties are a good expression of this attempt, although it needs to move one step further and become real experts in diplomacy to become real influencers. Building a global diplomacy on green issues from the election of strong and trained leaders able to be resilient by themselves towards a system that tends to absorb them.

Global green diplomacy: a new challenging ground that needs to give birth to a new generation of leaders able to grow strongly and steady to reshape global institutions and growth towards a new recycled life.







Architecture as a tool for building resilient cities by @MarIntroini

Being resilient means face uncertainty with pillars that guarantee stability and capacity to response to the “new”. This is how new realities forces to reshape a world in which infrastructure and services become flexible and versatile. Migration crisis or climate change pushes us to rethink a world in which urban spaces are designed for new-revolutionary standards of living.

Half of humanity, around 3.5 billion of people lives in cities today. By 2030, almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas which represents a strong reason for building cities that welcome this overwhelming number of people and their demands in a threaten environment.




Even if there is a political global commitment to achieve Goal 11 of the SDG´s: “Make cities and human resettlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is important to raise awareness and build new parameters at local level that mark the road for the next decade in a determinate and ambitious way. In the context of current “broken” world of weak commitment to global standards there is much more challenge and the search for stronger tools become paramount.

Architecture has become that tool, the relief that the world is awaiting. With innovation and creativity is showing its capacity to reinvent itself and construct the unimaginable. Rooftop gardens, urban farming, self-energy efficient houses, office-building with an integrated farm, are just examples of the impressive changes that architecture could make in societies. Is it not just a matter of changing design of construction styles but also a new way of living, above all producing a feeling. The emotional element that determinate the need for achieving results from a different perspective. In which multicultural spaces boost a mentality and a culture around tolerance and inclusiveness. The Pavilion in Vojvodina, northern Serbia* it’s a good model of this new trend that is helping to boost a new innovative concept that –in this case- assures freedom of religion. The acceptance of a “melting pot” of religions becomes also a matter of “architecture design”.

Globalization has brought more movement of people and also new demands for clean and healthy standards of living in which the cultural aspect cannot be missed. People move through public patterns of behavior and the sense of being part of a general consensus. Despite confrontation there is an important element of “being part of…” that allow them to be in one position or another. Is with this spirit that cities has contributed greatly to create multicultural societies. “Being part of….” is not a matter of local perspective but of the creation of open and inclusive spaces. The boost of globalization comes from the free movement of people –please do not confuse it with massive flow or refugees- that transform societies in a different and better place. Indeed, little towns that keep traditions intact are inclined to disappear as it doesn´t deliver the needed standards that fit in current world. Precisely migration has brought this element of merger of traditions and birth of a new layered of societies. That is the reason of being a value added for the growth of cities, therefore societies.

The complementary work of architecture and urban planning are key elements to achieve these new and ambitious standards. A green way of living means a smart urban planning and architecture enough flexible and versatile that gives room to a new philosophy of living.

Concrete, wood, timber, natural materials and a smart mind to be creative and innovative enough to build cities able to welcome all nature of people and “knit” new habits to protect the environment and adapt to current and future crises.

“Whatever you do, promise me that every project you make or design, you´ll take the risk of doing something for humanity”. Frank Ghery. Indeed, whatever is done should be focused on a creative and innovative architecture that helps to boost pillars around adaptation and an urban planning, ambitious enough to boost a resilient society.

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com




Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 2 Building Buy-in : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

Increasing employee involvement in workplace sustainability programs is one of the top challenges for organizations. This is not surprising as most businesses face issues with competing priorities, while implementing programs that are informal and voluntary. This post is going to make a departure from the usual topics that are discussed about sustainability buy-in. It will focus on three key questions and strategic approaches that are effective at building sustainability momentum within an organization.

So, let’s take a step back from sustainability specific issues and ask a couple of deeper questions and do a bit of exploring possible approaches.

What motivates us at work?

Dan Pink, an expert on human motivation and the author of the New York Times best seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, shows us that there is a huge disconnect between what science knows and what business does. He discusses how 40 years of proven research on human motivation goes largely ignored by companies. Dan outlines, with case study examples, that using intrinsic motivators, across the board, increases engagement, productivity, creativity and satisfaction.

According to Pink, the key drivers to increasing employee performance, productivity and satisfaction are:

Purpose – doing things because they matter and are in service of something larger than ourselves; a higher or outward looking mission

Autonomy – a desire to be self-directed; ownership & responsibility in areas of day-to-day work, life balance, career development, organizational direction, etc.

Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters – learning new skills and build our capacity to address new challenges/talks

In Dan Pink’s TED talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”, he reveals the substance of his findings from his book. He discusses how the carrots and sticks approach to incentivizing, outside of a surprisingly narrow set of circumstances, largely never works and often destroys creativity. The proven secret to high performance is intrinsic motivation, the drive to do things that matter.

Practical Application: The key here is weaving these 3 drivers into your programming to inspire employee involvement and commitment. I often hear people say, “I tried that once and it didn’t work”. One-off and ad-hoc attempts at fostering buy-in do not work; it’s necessary to use strategic, consistent and embedded approaches to build commitment, community and a supportive culture. Creating momentum may take a bit of time, but consistency builds credibility, accountability, aids in measurement and provides a platform for effectively communicating relevant messaging.

How does being purpose driven increase buy-in and participation?

The latest trend in the corporate world is the shift to establishing a company brand promise and growing profits through purpose-driven business strategies. Research shows purpose-driven organizations that foster shared-value experience a higher level of trust, ability to innovate, employee and customer satisfaction and overall profits.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, tells us that customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Your company’s why is the larger purpose that inspires you to do what you do every day beyond the objective of solely making money.

According to John Mackey & Raj Sisodia, the authors of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”, there are four general categories to consider when determining your organization’s “why” or higher purpose:

1.   Improving quality of life through service

2.   Furthering human knowledge through discovery and knowledge sharing

3.   Achieving excellence, beauty and mastery

4.   Doing the right thing




In Simon’s TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, he discusses the why (higher purpose), how (value proposition) and what (impact and scale of your offerings) of your business and the importance of starting with and discovering your why. Successful and innovative organizations start with a clear why and create aligned experiences (how) and products (what) around their brand that inspire employees, customers and investors.

Practical Application: Sustainability and corporate responsibility (CSR) initiatives are valuable alignment points to illustrate purpose-driven brand experiences that resonate with employees, customers and investors. Aligning sustainability-related activities with organizational purpose and business objectives provide a powerful platform to foster shared value, trust and ultimately buy-in from various stakeholder groups.

How do we build momentum when implementing internal initiatives?

How does an idea get widely adopted over time? We can look to the diffusion of innovation theory, developed by Everett Rogers in 1962. In his book, Diffusion of Innovations”, Rogers explains how, over a period of time, an idea gains momentum and spreads within a social system. This is essentially what Derek Sivers was illustrating in his “how to start a movement” video that was highlighted in Part 1: Steps to follow in this post series.

The theory, illustrated by a bell-curve, is broken into segments: adopters, innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggards (16%). The theory outlines how each category of adopters acts as influencers for the next segment under the curve.  A key effect in the model, which is often referred to the as the tipping point (16%), is where the rate of adoption accelerates and takes on the momentum needed for the innovation to be widely adopted.

Rogers also identified, in the Diffusion of Preventative Innovation, five characteristics that directly affect the probability of adoption of a specific innovation:

1.   Relative advantage – new idea is better than what is already available or in use

2.   Compatibility – compatible with their current habits and values

3.   Complexity – relative ease of use

4.   Trialability – potential adopter may trial it on a limited basis

5.   Observability – innovation is observed in use by other members and their results

Practical Application: When creating your programming, it is key to weave the success characteristics throughout your programming. Explore the five characteristics like a checklist and identify how your program stacks up in each area and where there are areas for improvement.

This model is also an incredibly useful marketing tool. Use the profile for each segment to create a targeted marketing strategy. This approach, using each segment profile, allows for the crafting of relevant and compelling marketing tactics and messages to effectively increase the rate of momentum and adoption.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization “ series. Part 3 will focus on how to scale your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization.

Start a conversation! Please leave a comment, question or share your experiences below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy on :

Twitter: @EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.







Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 1 – Steps to Follow : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

​When I talk to organizations of all sizes and functions, their biggest pain point is essentially the same, lack of participation.  Consistently, the two biggest challenges I hear are obstacles to increasing stakeholder buy-in and deal with competing priorities in the workplace.

In corporate responsibility & sustainability, we talk about being purpose driven and embedding sustainability within the organization, but what does that mean exactly? Essentially, we are looking for ways to mobilize employees and resources toward a shared sustainability purpose. In other words, what we want to know is how do we start a sustainability movement? This is the first installment of a 6 part series where we will discuss what starting a sustainability movement means, what it takes and the key elements for success.

Before getting into how to start a sustainability movement within your organization, let’s watch a TED talk by Derek Sivers (3 mins) and break down the basic steps and key insights of starting a movement in general.

Observed steps and key insights from the video:

  1.    Leaders need to create actions that are easy to follow and show the first follower how to follow. The first followers will then show everyone else how to follow.
  2.    Leaders embrace followers as equals, so it’s about the movement, not about the leader.
  3.    The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership. It takes courage to stand out and do something new and different.
  4.    Actions must be public. It’s important to not only show the actions of the leader, but also the followers. New followers will emulate other followers, not the leader.
  5.    After the first few join, others will join because it’s less risky. Then you hit the tipping point.
  6.    Afterward, those who were sitting on the fence before, have no reason now not to join. They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry.
  7.    Then you have a movement.

I love that these insights are clear and simple, but I also wanted to add some key ideas that relate these steps to engaging employees in internal sustainability programs; many of these will be discussed in greater detail later in the series.

Create relevance for the program beyond company purpose. If a mission isn’t relevant to employees on a personal level, outside of work, it’s not likely to resonate with them at work either. How does your company’s sustainability agenda align with a greater purpose, allowing employees to contribute to the global good? Are you relating similar actions in their daily lives at home?

The UN Sustainable Development goals are a great way to create greater overall relevance. It provides a collective (global) way forward to address the world’s most pressing issues, but allows companies to choose the goals that align with their purpose and materiality priorities. With this greater vision and purpose, employees can participate make the broader connections with the meaning behind their brand experiences.

Meeting people where they are. A key element to increasing participation is by creating programming to engage employees that reflect their varying levels of understanding and willingness to participate. Do you have activities planned to accommodate these levels of employee involvement to meet them at their highest level of engagement and potential impact?

Law of diffusion of innovation principle. According to research, the required percentage of uptake in order to achieve the tipping point when adopting new innovations is only 16 %. (That lovely number makes the task seem more manageable, right?) Here is a great talk by Simon Sinek, where he discusses the law of diffusion in more detail.

Share employee experiences. Create fun, engaging, and relatable experiences for participating employees to share and inspire others to get involved. You could highlight and share articles, videos, blogs, pictures, posts, tweets, etc. Harness the powerful resource of employee influence and amplification in networks, on social media and word of mouth.

Cultivate followers and equip them to be advocates. Advocates and enthusiasts can be your strongest resource. We are very much social beings and are strongly influenced by our peers. Often sustainability practitioners feel overwhelmed when implementing programming as they say, “it’s just me!” I say look for ways to mobilize your employees and make them all owners and leaders. Create a clear process to show your followers how to follow, so they can then easily communicate the process to other potential followers.

Focus on key messaging and ongoing dialogue.  Be consistent in your messaging, frequency and contact channels with your communications and engagement. Focus on regular messaging communications, activities and feedback. If we want activities to be embedded into our organizational ethos, it needs to be part of an ongoing conversation, not only a few times per year when specific activities are launched.

Want to learn more? Watch for the next installment of her 6-part “Start a sustainability movement “ series. Part 2 will focus on building stakeholder buy-in at every level of the organization.




Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Leave a Comment! We would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or question below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

You can find Wendy on Twitter:@EngageIntl or LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.




Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience? 

Originally posted on  : thesustainabilityreader.com




Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience?

Both activities are part of a big strategy based on the response of a sustainable system towards the relentless impact of climate change. Transport and waste management are a good summary of the best activities that describe a personal healthy “green” attitude. However, it awakens resistance because it something “new” that represents a complete change of diary habits. There is not a solid culture around the need to be sensible and make personal efforts (recycling, shopping habits, transport, etc).  In addition, we live in a historically moment in which the strong investment that climate change demands is surprisingly gather deniers and support from governments. Just to give a recent example, in Madrid, Spain the resolution to close the traffic in the centric area of this crowd city –only for Christmas period-, is generating debate and resistance. Most of the citizens do not understand the meaning even if it has a direct and immediate impact in contamination levels and has already achieved a successful 37% of reduction.

In the end, everything is reduced to a process of re-educate people that unfortunately is not being carried out in a systemic way. Is not even a struggle against climate change denials –that at least are informed of the existence of scientific material- but of raising awareness of the need to change personal habits by delivering constant information to the people.

Despite all this years of constant discussion about the need to reshape public an private policies around the environment is still seen as a matter of public decisions without personal involvement, that almost “magically” will make a reduction on contamination.

“Ignorance is the darkest night”… Indeed, and the lack of awareness of making changes through personal habits it make the goal for a green city literally impossible.

So, is it all about education and information? Yes, mainly because most of the reactions from the citizenship comes precisely because of being misinformed/no informed. Turn to a green city demands solid Education pillars as the Nordic countries have shown. A change of personal habits comes from the conviction and be educated and informed around green policies is the best way to get it.

Personal attitude has a real and direct impact on climate change and what its most important: it has a real possibility to successfully change it.

Cycling is a symbol for these changes, as transport seems to be one of the most important aspects for achieving sustainable goals. The use of fossil fuels is a big challenge that is usually associated as a matter of “public affairs”. Indeed, restrictions to its use needs strong legislation, however in a political world contaminated by corruption, private interests, and “revolving doors” not always success. Is for this reason that the pressure around individual attitude is much more powerful than any legislation and the only resilient way to push for changes.

If you make legislation without individual awareness maybe you succeed…maybe not, but if you make people aware of their own interests even in the long term you make history.

Cycling and recycling are not enough to make a world sustainable but it makes the difference from the easiest way to do it: change of personal habits. Being green is a matter of personal awareness that need to be rising by Education patterns boost by the State. Too much focus in legislation makes loss the focus in what is really important: individuals able to change systems, not systems that change through bottom up initiatives.

If there is a systemic “green education” cycling and recycling ´d be only the starting point for a tangible  wonderland! GO!






Announcement of a regular Green Show on @VoiceFMradio by @rwscarter

Some of you have already listened to @rwscarter on VoiceFm recently, some of you are so dedicated that you have heard both of his appearance so far. Credit where it is due, that cannot have been as easy as listening to Adam from Green Hampshire or Denise from ‘Eco Hair and Beauty‘. Both the earlier show and the now regular slot. On that occasion (my first VoiceFm appearance) I was with the wonderful Denise Baden from Southampton University who was discussing the great initiative ‘Eco Hair and Beauty’ which have written for us here at @CrowdLeaf before. She also discussed the sustainability agenda in Cuba- which she tied in rather nicely with her musical ‘Fidel’. More of that can be found here along with a link to that guest appearance below.




Like wise the new green show on VoiceFM – hosted by Xan Philips and the green agenda taken forward by @rwscarter on Xan’s ‘The Business show’ every first Thursday of the month from 8pm- 9pm.

The December the 1st episode can be found above – With the inside scoop on all things Christmas ,Autumn Statement, local green campaigns, national crowdfunding news and the green agenda and insights, from £5 notes to electric vans.

As @rwscarter is now a regular guest- the first in the sequence of Green issues radio appearances os merely the start, we want your green news, campaigns and insights to share live on air. At the moment this scheduled be broadcast every first Thursday of each month from 8 PM however we are both human and sometime this may change, so keep an eye on our twitter and on here. You can tune in on 103.9FM or find us online at : http://www.voicefmradio.co.uk   . If you happen to miss the show but still want to listen, perhaps you want to take us for a train journey, or on a long walk  – there is both a listen live and as you’ve  probably noticed from the links above a ‘listen again’ option.  Thanks as always for being here with us – keep your green news, campaigns, opportunities and more coming our way. Equally there is room for suggested sustainability/green/conservation songs – please do share your suggestions.




The C02 soaking Sponge made with …. Baking Soda

CrowdLeaf, we have a problem, a big one.  A problem I do not need to tell you, your probably here reading this because you know of this problem. C02 emissions and the catastrophic damage it causes to our climate and environment. The collective problem of climate change, needs a collective response. So on this the first blog I am doing for CrowdLeaf, I would like to say thank you for joining in a collective response to this collective problem.

A news story caught my eye recently, for me it symbolises the momentum that we have behind tackling the emissions, it is a story of Carbon capture. Carbon Capture is one way in which we can mitigate the negative effect we are having on the world and we should be doing all we can to capture as much carbon dioxide as we can from the root causes as well as what we can to lower the amount of causes of emissions.

First I want to put an argument to bed, I have been told that carbon capture just allows bad behavior, or at least bad practice to go on longer. I get the angle but I put this to you, some decisions will be made around the world that we will have no power over, we have no say in and that will go ahead regardless. Only through advancements in this sort of technology can we mitigate these damages while we push for a better world. In, local, company, national, pan national or global agreements this sort of technology strengthens our hand when we are entering negotiations around emissions and lowers the cost of tackling the problems we face.




In global negotiations such as COP21 which happened in Paris recently are about overcoming a lot of vested interests and sadly about a lot of money that does quite well from the status quo. This is where carbon capture really shows its strength, the emergence of new technologies allows more uptake for less costs and the increased bargaining power that comes with a lower cost of carbon reduction technologies is a good result for us.

There is a noble and pragmatic case behind carbon capture, the world would be a lot worse if we did not try and at least mitigate the negative externalities that arise from what is the largest cause of emissions. invest in new innovations to stop emissions is still technology that can be used in other countries where our movement may not be as strong. There is not yet the capacity on renewable energy and sustainable alternatives to shut off these very dirty but very profitable industries. So for every increase in the quantities of C02 that can be captured is a minor victory.

Last year the government withdrew its support for carbon capture, but today I can announce that despite losing state backing, the C02 soaking sponge keeps going with the support of baking Soda! – Through the use of 3D printers scientists have been able to make a new sponge-like substance that captures C02 and creates backing soda. The sponge is made to increase the surface area and when the surface makes contact with CO2 they react and create baking soda through the mixing of water, C02 and sodium carbonate.

The beauty of this is that baking soda has a market, green baking soda has a far more ethical tinge to add to a future kitchen cabinet. If you’ll excuse the cliche if this works ‘were really cooking on gas now’.   CrowdLeaf wish everyone on the team the best of luck in creating the final product and hope they can get it to market as soon as.