By AWATIF GHAPAR
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan
HOW many of us layer up in office – be it with a cardigan, jumper and even a shawl? Every time we do so, we are guilty of contributing to climate change. It just shows how the air-conditioner’s temperature in our office is set too low, contributing to environmental damage.
This is Kuala Lumpur, a city in South- East Asia, so how can one be layered up in the office, as if it is winter? It does not make sense, does it?
That’s what I learnt when the legendary Green Man, Matthias Gelber came to visit Leaderonomics office to create awareness on sustainability to our employees.
The Green Man’s green living
Coming from Burbach-Lippe, a small village in Germany, Gelber grew up very close to nature. He recalls his hometown being untouched by the effects of industrialisation. Fast forward to today, his nieces and nephews no longer enjoy the same winter effects which Matthias experienced consistently during his youth.
Voted as the Greenest Person on the Planet in 2008 in an online competition by 3rdWhale while in Canada, “Green Man” became Gelber’s nickname and trademark and he proudly associates himself with it – in an attempt to create broader awareness on the topics of sustainability.
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His latest project, Greenman Tiny Homeaims to provide urban dwellers with access to eco-responsive homes that are comfortable, mobile, and affordable. The GreenMan team demonstrates how Malaysians and others around the world can minimise environmental impact on local surroundings whilst iving comfortably and in style.
How we can play our part
At Leaderonomics, we often send powerful messages on leadership using various approaches and perspectives. We believe in transforming the nation by creating great organisations and communities through exceptional leadership.
We dream of bringing leadership development to the remotest parts. We ensure that everyone who aspires to be a leader is provided with the right tools and processes that enable them to “build communities of love”.
When it comes to environmental sustainability, our thoughts are usually limited to saving the environment. Often, we overlook the importance of having leadership that exemplifies and emphasises the importance of green living, be it in the corporate space, varsities and even schools.
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Gelber’s sharing helped us to see how a social enterprise like ours can dedicate itself to transformation through leadership development, and make a positive change towards environmental sustainability.
Having vast experience in providing eco-friendly consultation to international companies, he suggested including eco-friendly messages and activities in our learning modules, making it a norm for every organisation to practise eco-living in their daily operations and delivery.
And it starts when the leaders themselves exemplify such practices. Hence, it is very important that leaders carry and practise eco-living values to exert similar vibes across their organisations.
From reducing the use of air-conditioners and artificial lights to using recycled materials, providing eco-friendly food containers and keeping plants in the office, these efforts help promote awareness and eventually become a way of life.
Gelber shares that times have changed with the increase of climate issues and we need to step up our game to protect the environment.
Together with Gelber, we believe that this is not how the future should be. Everyone is entitled to live in a safe, healthy and beautiful environment, and it starts with an individual who leads the organisation and community carrying strong messages of sustainable living.
The Greenman’s Guide to Green Living and Working, Gelber’s first book, tells a lot on how we can incorporate simple practices on eco-living in our daily lives. The suggestions are practical and easy to follow for beginners.
To set a good example on eco-living, the book is made from eco-friendly materials, i.e. the paper is 100% recycled and uses ink produced from mushrooms without solvents that emit the dangerous VOC (volatile organic compound). It is also produced by a leading eco-friendly printing company.
To us at Leaderonomics, there should be a strong connection between leadership and environmental sustainability. It is time we leverage on the two; to make the environment and community a wholesome place to live in. After all, what is the point of building great leaders and followers, only to live in tainted environment?
Check out the video below:
How are you playing your part in sustainable and green living? Hopefully, you’ll have a few new year resolutions to care for the environment. Share with us your insights at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Thought Of The Week articles, click here. You can also find Matthias on Facebook as GreenMan Matthias Gelber.
Awatif is a former senior analyst with Leaderonomics Campus. She loves traveling solo and is more adventurous in real life than she seems at first glance.