Climate Change: it’s time to shake-up our comfort zones


How to keep the momentum going and bring the effort to the next level? We need shake-uppers!

On Friday, September 20th, 2019, I took a day off from work to join 250,000 like-minded people in New York—4 million worldwide in 163 countries—in marching against global warming. The experience was mind-blowing and sparked a torrent of thoughts. I took a deep breath, slept a couple of nights on it, and reflected on what’s next.

How can I keep the momentum going and bring my effort to the next level? How can I support the cause more actively? How can I shake-up my comfort zones, providing a personal contribution to climate change?

It may sound counterintuitive at first, but I have decided to approach the topic through the lens of something I am comfortable with: marketing. Bringing the climate change effort to the next level for me means increasing awareness, consideration, and most importantly taking action. I will focus my energy on these three main aspects, and perhaps you can do that too.

The activists: people who move

Every marketing strategy should start with a robust segmentation. Market segmentation is “the activity of dividing a broad consumer or business market, normally consisting of existing and potential customers, into sub-groups of consumers based on some shared characteristics.”

The concept is easy and straightforward. While we are all different, some similarities bond us together. Like-minded people tend to connect digitally and physically, which is what happened last Friday in New York and in 163 other cities around the world, when four million like-minded people marched against global warming.

I made a quick calculation: if we consider that the global population is 7.53 billion people, then four million people represent around 0.5% of the world’s population. Yes, indeed, only 0.5% worldwide stood up and took to the streets in a global strike. Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion here. And don’t underestimate the power of those people.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

“There are three kinds of people: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those who move.

People who move are environmental activists and innovators—they are the people who can inspire us. Those that can spread ideas and make a global climate strike with 4 million people around the world happen.

You can Google climate strike and find tons of images, articles, and videos from September 20th. Above all of them, I chose the most iconic: Greta Thunberg sitting alone nearly one year ago next to an image from Friday, with Greta surrounded by 250,000 people.

2 striking photos taken just over a year apart show how Greta Thunberg's climate strike inspired millions - Photo credits Business Insider

2 striking photos taken just over a year apart show how Greta Thunberg's climate strike inspired millions

The image shows all of us what the power of a purpose can do, what the power of connecting millions of people can do. The picture shows what shaking up millions of people to expand their comfort Zones means, and among other things, what we can do individually and as a part of a community.

Activists, AKA Innovators—that 0.5% of the global population who showed up last Friday—are spreading an important message: “our house is on fire” and “we must act and change now.” It’s a clear message and a strong call to action for the rest of us. We need change, and everybody needs to be involved.

The innovators, by definition, are a small group of people. A new generation is driving the change: Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2015, who are currently between 4–24 years old (nearly 74 million in the US). The older Gen Z is in charge and is already working to increase awareness and consideration, and they are demanding action. Their influence is spreading to involve older generations and is influencing younger people. It was happening on Friday when people across different generations joined the student strike.

But innovators need another segment of people to be involved. Innovators need us.

The shake-uppers: people who are movable

To keep the momentum going and bring the effort to the next level, innovators need shake-uppers. Shake-uppers are people who see the need for change and who are ready to embrace it. They take action.

Activists inspire them to be advocates of the need for change and to start moving now. And shake-uppers move. They start small with the micro-decisions, micro-moments, and micro-activities of their daily lives.

I want to think of myself as an activist, but I am not. Last Friday, I joined the crowd, and it was the best decision I could have made. But for sure, I was not with the group on March 15th when there was another strike in New York, and I was not involved in any capacity before Friday.

I like to think of myself as an aspiring shake-upper. I believe in the power of learning and improving during our entire lives. I value the growth-minded approach of people ready to know more, to understand and work on themselves—on their beliefs, thoughts, and habits—to make things happen and embrace change. I was not born as a shake-upper— nobody is. But I am training to become one.

Experiences can have a profound impact on our ability to start the journey toward becoming a shake-upper. What I experienced last Friday was mind-blowing, emotionally dense, and it made me want to do more. And now here I am, adding a new chapter to my project, the Comfort Zone Shake-Up.

The relationship between technology, humanity, and climate change is a critical topic in identifying external changes that can be made that will have a significant impact on our lives. They influence and are influenced by our internal changes, and we can’t overlook this correlation when we are talking about training ourselves for change.

I feel like my role as an aspiring shake-upper—and your role if you want to be a shake-upper too—is to learn, discuss, and foster an open-minded conversation. Only by increasing awareness and consideration will we be able to create the conditions to make an impact.

Our role is to act and to do it now. We should try harder than before, harder than yesterday to make even a small impact. We won’t be perfect at first. We will make mistakes for sure, but we will learn how to adjust our behavior and other habits to cultivate a much-needed change.

Greta Thunberg’s words during the UN Global Action Summit have already made history. We, too, can make it every day.

What about immovable people?

After a robust segmentation, every marketing strategy should consider a strategic choice: a selection of the key segments. These segments will drive the results.

Activists and Shake-uppers will change the world.

Are you ready to be a shake-upper?

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