I’m super excited about the game-changer I’m bringing to you today.
She’s a young, inspiring author writing about sustainability and using our favorite tool around here: positivity.
Jordan Fox is the author of The Changemaker Attitude. She wrote this book to introduce optimism in the climate change narrative, and to empower us to take action in the climate crisis from a place of hope, and not fear.
She knows that everyone, especially younger generations, can be paralysed by fear and anxiety facing our current climate crisis, and she wants us to know we have the tools to change this situation.
In her book, she introduces us to eco-innovators ready to change the world and give us a cleaner future by putting their bright ideas into practice.
Hi, Jordan! First, tell us a bit about yourself and your background
Well, I am currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations and Engineering Entrepreneurship, but I am from Snowmass, Colorado. I grew up playing every sport that was offered and spending all my time outside from skiing to hiking and camping.
My parents always told me not to let school get in the way of my education and so I grew up traveling a lot. They believe that seeing the world was the best form of education, so I have been lucky enough to visit most of Asia and a little bit of Africa and Europe. I am partially convinced the only reason I chose International Relations is so I can have an excuse to travel the world.
How will you use your studies to help our planet?
For me, International Relations is about becoming a global citizen and learning about the way our world functions.
The interplay between learning about economics, history, and politics among other things has given me the ability to think critically about the world, I love it. Ever since I was little I have wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted to be in charge of doing something that helped people. So while I have no real plans for the future, I hope to gain enough knowledge of the world and technical skills to make a difference.
How did you get into sustainability? Was there a turning point in your life that made you want to take the green route?
Growing up in Colorado we spent every year of school on an outdoor education trip. We would backpack, river raft, and camp across Colorado and learn to pack out all our waste and you begin to develop habits of trying to avoid waste.
I can’t say there was an exact moment but it just seemed natural to need to preserve nature considering everything it had given me and my community.
When you are paddleboarding or camping or generally outdoors, you see the places where our waste ends up and while we have built up infrastructure everywhere that makes us feel more disconnected from these places, it does not change the fact that it is not our natural habitat.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability means thinking about the future we want and collectively trying our best to act accordingly. It means not only using less in the short term but trying to create sustainable systems for our future.
And what inspired you to write The Changemaker Attitude?
The concept of climate change has always scared me so growing up I ignored it. I would avoid news that discussed it’s horrifying implications, and told myself someone else would fix it.
Other than that I am a very optimistic person. I care deeply about the environment but was paralyzed by fear to even acknowledge it.
If I couldn’t face the problem, how could the rest of the world be expected to? This is such an important topic and I knew we needed to find a more productive and positive way to talk about it.
I love your approach of positivity as a tool to fight climate change. Why did you choose to tackle this topic in an optimistic way?
We have known about climate change for decades now.
So far we have focused on doomsday predictions of the future to force people to take it seriously, but that hasn’t gotten the masses to take action. We no longer have time to be paralyzed and scared and it seemed like we needed a new perspective and mindset to tackle it.
Out of all the inspiring stories in your book, do you have a favorite?
My favorite story is about Alhaji bah who 20 months ago was homeless living on the streets of Sierra Leone. At 20 years old he moved in with a friend’s family but that same year a mudslide killed the whole family and he was left without a place to go again.
After learning that the mudslides were caused by deforestation and plastic pollution, he used the little money he had saved up to begin making paper bags and briquettes out of coconut husks. He didn’t have a safety net or a plan, just a need to solve a problem that had caused him and his community such grief.
Bah is only 20 years old now but he has accomplished so much with so little. It really goes to show you that anyone can confront this overwhelming issue.
Have your expectations of the future of sustainability changed after writing the book?
I came into the writing process trying to find a more optimistic outlook on climate change but truthfully it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be to find a new mindset. Talking to these eco innovators around the world has shown me so much about the power of individuals making a difference in their community and for that I’m so grateful.
I have so much faith in our generations if we are able to face this problem head on and take small steps towards a better future.
Do you think our generation has the potential to become a game-changer in the climate crisis? And a how do you see the future of sustainability?
Our generation has taken initiative on some of the biggest issues facing our world. From what I’ve seen we’re not scared of big issues and have no problem asking tough questions. It makes me incredibly hopeful and I truthfully believe that our generation will be responsible for remaking the world as we know it.
I also believe we have come to a turning point in terms of sustainability. There are so many people who understand the issue and want to do something that I think in the near future we’re going to start to see real changes.
Sustainability is such a buzzword and we have to figure out what that means, but like I mentioned our generation seems to have no problem questioning systems and processes.
Last but not least: where can we find The Changemaker Attitude?
It is available on Amazon and other vendors.
If anyone wants to learn more about the project, become a beta reader, or keep updated please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for this interview, Jordan! And thank you so much for writing this book full of hope and empowerment for us eco-optimists.