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Empowering Women for Climate Action With Natalie Isaacs

A little over a decade ago, Natalie Isaacs’ lifestyle looked very different. As a cosmetics manufacturer her life was consumed by packaging and waste. Now, she’s the founder of 1 Million Women, a movement that empowers and educates women and girls around the world on how they can live climate action, use their voice, vote and influence.

How do you start your day?

My day starts with a coffee and, if I have the time, I love to connect with the Earth by taking a long walk and a swim in the ocean or stretching my body with yoga. During work week, my day looks more like yoga and, lately, it’s been planning 1 Million Women’s (1MW) exciting new #1MREADY campaign, our commitment to work for the next two years.

What does ambition look like for you?

I don’t think I’m overly ambitious. I’m driven by my purpose, want to make a difference in this world and I want to share my story, so maybe that’s what ambition is, but it’s not how I look at it. Women’s empowerment, climate action and collective power are the three things I am deeply committed to and passionate about. But it’s not easy. To me, being ambitious is about maintaining hope and optimism and using them to fuel you.

How do you create work–life balance?

My team will be the first to tell you that I live and breathe 1 Million Women. It’s part of who I am and how I live, so the line between work and life can sometimes get a little bit blurry. Work does get overwhelming and there is the issue of burnout I need to be mindful of in the work I am doing. My wellbeing and the wellbeing of my team is something we try very hard to address. However, I am able to disconnect; it’s usually when I am with my family and being present for my four grandchildren. They are my greatest joys.

One of the things you do at 1 Million Women is share stories of everyday Australians making a difference. Please tell us more.

Storytelling is a big part of the way we connect with our community. When we tell our climate stories, there is a different kind of energy flow in the communication. It’s personal, raw, real and honest — that really connects with others. 1MW is a global movement and we share stories of hope, optimism and determination. We shine a light on women from all walks of life who are doing extraordinary things for climate change.

How do we change behaviour around climate change action?

Taking climate action and changing your behaviours doesn’t have to be an overhaul of your life where you do absolutely everything all at once. I think that’s something that deters people from getting more involved in climate action. It seems overwhelming, but just acting day by day can be just as impactful. Making planet-friendly changes when it comes to replacing household items, taking a moment to research financial institutions before making commitments to invest money, and cutting back energy use as much as possible all make a difference and collectively make an even bigger impact for our planet.

What does a world in balance look like for you?

For me, a world in balance looks like people getting to spend more time outdoors and connecting with nature and less time spent worrying about and fighting for the future of our planet. A world in balance looks like us, as a global community, giving more back to the Earth than we are taking from it — a world where we aren’t constantly rebuilding after climate disasters or preparing for the next catastrophe. It’s being able to enjoy the smaller things in life without the threat of the climate crisis looming overhead. It looks like a world where our First Nations communities are given the voice, respect and attention they deserve, especially when it comes to leading the way in the climate solution. It’s a world where women are empowered to make a difference and stand up for what they believe in in an equal society.

What should our three non-negotiables be when it comes to climate change action?

  1. First Nations voices and knowledge must be amplified and included in all conversations regarding climate action and climate solutions. It’s our First Nations people who will lead the way to a happy and healthy planet.
  2. Women and girls hold so much power, both individually and collectively, when it comes to climate action. We must be empowered to come together to make a difference — to have those difficult conversations, to reach out to politicians and government officials on all levels and demand decisive action by now.
  3. Doing all that you can to make a difference for our planet, but making sure you remain optimistic and hopeful while you’re on your climate journey. As I mentioned before, just starting with the small steps is still a start and still brings us a step closer to slowing down our global temperature.

What’s next for you personally?

The 1MW team just came back from our annual Team Retreat, where we discussed what’s next for 1MW over the next two years. Soon we will be launching our exciting new #1MREADY campaign. Our #1MREADY campaign aims to galvanise our existing 1MW community and mobilise (hopefully) a million more women to join us over the next two years. #1MREADY is our rally call to women to use their voices, vote and use everyday actions at this most critical time for climate action.

Our #1MREADY will focus on three main things:

  1. Empowering women to build constructive relationships with our elected politicians, who have the potential to be climate champions within their electorate regardless of which side of politics they sit on.
  2. Electrifying, degasifying and decarbonising our homes and lives.
  3. Using our economic power to cut carbon through how we spend and invest our money.

For more information, visit 1millionwomen.com.au and @1MillionWomen on social media.

Article Featured in WellBeing #204

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan is the Editor of WellBeing and WILD. She loves surfing, creating raw desserts, flowing through nourishing yoga sequences and spending time with her new pooch, Maribou.

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