Redefining sustainabilityEthical Business News & Features
This article first appeared in our Restoration Revolution issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 06 Sept 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
The solutions to all your challenges are already out there – you just need to change your perspective. This is the view of Rene Schneider, co-founder and CEO of Sideshift, a ‘social opportunity platform’.
‘Take a mix of Netflix and Facebook, but with a purpose’, Rene explains. ‘Sideshift shows you solutions to create and balance wellbeing, success and sustainability in your life, community, organisation and for our planet. It’s about learning from each other and then applying the solutions.’
The online summit
On 26 September 2019, 50 global thought leaders and change-makers will come together to share their insights over an 11-day Sideshift Summit that’s free for everyone. The goal is to ‘redefine sustainability’ and reveal the small, individual actions required to address huge global crises.
The online summit will challenge the perspective that sustainability is only about battling climate change or plastic waste; it will help people to identify what the right next steps are for them, and what they can do from today to make a difference in their life, their family and their organisation.
Activists to philosophers
People from all walks of life will share their stories at the summit: academics, accountants, activists, business leaders from small to corporate level, city planners, creatives, futurists, leadership and life coaches, researchers, start-ups, philosophers, world travellers, yoga teachers and many more. The goal is for different speakers in different settings to cover lots of topics, and help to tear down the silos we have created in our thinking and acting.
‘If, like me, you’re more focused on the big picture, you will look forward to the authors Charles Eisenstein and Mac Macartney’, Rene tells us. ‘Tom Szaky and Bob Chapman will offer a more business-centric view. But to get hands-on and straightforward lifestyle changes that benefit us and our planet, nobody beats My Green Pod co-founder Jarvis Smith.’
Rene believes that in order to be open to change, you must see the immediate benefits for yourself, your family, your community and your organisation. ‘Only then you will do it’, he tells us. ‘It’s about seeing the alternatives that are better than the status quo. For that we need to ask ourselves: what do I really value and love, and how can I get there? If we all do that, everything will change. It’s as simple as that.’
If all the solutions to our global problems are already out there, how are we in such a mess? For Rene, the explanation is multifaceted. ‘We focus on big problems with no immediate solutions’, he explains. ‘People need to see their one next step. We also think in extremes, like left and right. This prevents us from finding a middle ground.’
Silo thinking also prevents us from looking for solutions beyond the confines of work, family, departments, industries and countries. ‘The best solution is often outside these bubbles’, Rene says.
We also have a tendency to treat the symptoms rather than the root causes of our problems – and even when we see solutions we are often unwilling to change. ‘We simply expect others to make the changes for us’, Rene tells us. ‘Governments or big corporates. But really, it is about personal responsibility; to get it right, solutions must be bottom-up.’
Shifting perspective allows you to see the same challenge from a different angle – whether it’s the view of another person or how a solution has worked in a different setting, be it another country or industry or a different culture.
‘Do something. Anything’
‘In our study tours we are taking people out of their usual setting and comfort zone’, Rene explains. ‘They experience how other people are solving the same problem in a different way. When you feel stuck in life, what is the best thing to do? Get out, meet new people, visit new places, start a new hobby, read a book. Just do something. Anything, really. This change in perspective will quickly bring the right next step.’
The goal of the soon-to-launch Sideshift social opportunity platform is to help individuals take responsibility for effecting positive change. ‘Now we are closing the circle’, Rene tells us. ‘The study tours I mentioned are all about changing perspective by sharing your own stories and learning from other people. Our platform will make it easy for people to do that on a global scale. Showing us these better alternatives to the status quo, and building a global and local community to make these changes together. One step at a time.’