09 August 2013

My Transformational Journey

“The unexpected action of deep listening can create a space of transformation capable of shattering complacency and despair.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

Tallbike Goddess 2 - Obviously Chlöe

My project is realizing early success with the help of the social media site Meetup.org where anyone can found a grassroots group and find their “people.” I thank all fifty-two of our pioneer “Changemakers” who were early and eager adopters of the Carbon Recovery 12.0 Step Program through PE12.0 and  I’m grateful to all of you who have been following this project  for your helpful feedback throughout the process. (1)

Perhaps the most rewarding outcome of these past weeks has been my own internal metamorphosis from eager Pioneer to landing a strong foothold in the Transformational stage. The process has been as valuable as the project’s results.  I was inspired to join the Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps training in Chicago (July 30th – August 1st). (2)  Many of the messaging tools that our change agent speakers have discussed were powerfully underscored during the conference. It was invigorating to be at a gathering of 1,500 plus active change agents from all fifty states and seventy countries worldwide, all working toward the breakdown of climate change denial. 

Creating a change agency as a grassroots organization has uncovered one surprising result. Grassroots members come from different experiences and bring with them diverse skill-sets, but they also join the group at different levels along the Awakening -> Pioneering -> Transformational continuum.

As a change agent in the arena of ecological sustainability, I’ve learned the importance of actively listening and engaging with others as we tackle sustainability issues and promote creative solutions to environmental challenges that shape our future world.  I’ve also uncovered several commonalities in the process of building a change agency through listening to and engaging with folks who share this common path of awareness and action around this critical issue:  

  • Our responses and actions are a result of a complex web of inputs that are both internal and external; altering habits, choices and behaviors involves internal as well as external prompts, influence and inputs.
  • Founding a change agency requires a high degree of organization, communication skills and humility; staying the path takes transparency, dedication and openness to feedback.
  • When we predict the results, we short change ourselves; change agents are hard at work, engaging their workplaces, communities, social networks and inspiring others one on one to join the challenge of working towards ecological sustainability.
  • Small victories are effective catalysts to systemic change; pilot projects offer hard proof of the social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable change.
  • Initiating change in foundling organizations, businesses and projects at the planning stages can activate core alignment with a sustainable core mission; engaging our schools can similarly instill sustainable core values in our future generations.
I have found this experience to be transformational. If I were to design a course with a core mission to inspire and prepare change agents I would challenge my students to learn through doing as this experience has given tools that I could never have learned strictly through books and lectures.  I would challenge my students to look deep within themselves and explore the depths of their conviction, their willingness and their vigilance as the road that change agents trudge is long, uphill and never a straight path. That first step is always the most important and the toughest to take, just as lacing up the running shoes is the toughest part of a workout.  The good news is that the process and journey is well worth the hard work, both internal and external, as no matter the project results, embarking on the challenge of becoming a change activist brings enormous positive effects on the "Changemaker" themself.

I will be continuing Carbon Recovery 12.0 as a pathway to increase personal awareness and responsibility over our own carbon and ecological footprint through working the Twelve Steps of Carbon Recovery. The abridged steps are: (3)

My hope and vision for the program is that it will be utilized as a blueprint toward growth, breaking down denial and activating personal responsibility as we grow a community of ecologically sustainable "Changemakers".


(1) Pittsburgh Environmentalists 12.0 currently has fifty-two “changemakers” and is continuing to grow organically. We are currently active in working this twelve step program, making changes to lessen our personal carbon footprints and adopting ecologically sustainable lifestyles. We are planning several “Green Team” actions to spread awareness into the community at large. Out of the thirteen attendees present at the first event, four have stepped up to take on facilitation roles in the group. 
(2) Trained by former Vice-President Al Gore, Climate Leaders are frontline agents for change, engaging their communities with "Acts of Leadership." 
(3) For more go to Climate Reality Project (http://climaterealityproject.org).
(4) To learn more about Carbon Recovery 12.0 and how to start a group to work this twelve step recovery program in your area and/or to receive the long version of the twelve steps please send your inquiries to ecocouturemagazine@gmail.com. Thank you.