By AWATIF GHAPAR
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan
How many of us actually layer up in office – be it with a cardigan, jumper and even a shawl? For 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, which increases its harmfulness to the environment.
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 remembers his hometown to be untouched by the effects of industrialisation. Fast forward to today, his nieces and nephews now no longer enjoy the same winter with reliable snow 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, it had since become Gelber’s nickname and trademark in creating broader awareness on environmental sustainability.
He has been all over the world before choosing to reside in Malaysia. Living as green as he can, he survives on an average of USD10 per month on his utility bills!
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His latest project, Greenman Tiny Home aims 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 are able to minimise environmental impact on local surroundings whilst still living comfortably and in style.
How we can play our part
At Leaderonomics, we often send powerful messages on leadership through 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 of developing nations. We ensure that everyone who aspires to be a leader is provided the tools and processes to enable them to “build communities of love”.
And when it comes to environmental sustainability, our thoughts are usually limited to save the environment as individuals and also what communities can do at large. Often times, we overlook the importance of having leadership that exemplifies and emphasises on the importance of green living, be it in the corporate sectors, varsities and even schools.
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Gelber’s sharing helped us to see how as a social enterprise dedicated to transform nations through leadership development, we can make a positive change towards environmental sustainability.
Having vast experience in providing eco-friendly consultation to international companies, he suggested to include 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 to promote awareness on environmental sustainability.
Gelber shares that times have really changed with the increase of climate issues and we need to step up our game in protecting 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 environmental sustainability.
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 every day. The suggestions are practical and easy to follow for beginners. To set a good example on eco-living, the book is 100% made of eco-friendly materials, i.e. the paper is 100% recycled and ink is from mushrooms without solvents that emit the dangerous VOC. And It is printed by a Malaysian company NetsEco who is the leader in eco friendly priting in the region. So, the future for environmental sustainability begins here.
There should be strong connections between leadership and environmental sustainability. It is time we leverage on the two in making 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 environments?
Check out the video below: