Natalie Isaacs joins Angela Priestley and Georgie Dent in the Eagle Waves studio. She’s the founder of 1 Million Women, a global movement connecting women determined to fight the climate crisis at home, and she’s the author of the new book, Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet.
Natalie was named Australian National Geographic’s 2017 Conservationist of the Year. She’s a former cosmetics manufacturer who started 1 Million Women almost ten years ago, following a personal ‘epiphany’ in which she realised how much she saved on her energy bills by taking small actions at home.
“The thing that actually changed my life forever was that I got my electricity bill down by 20 per cent, just by being more vigilant around the house,” she says. “When I saw I’d saved all this pollution and all this money, that’s when I took ownership.”
We discuss the every day, little things we can all do to reduce our household emissions, and tips for combatting overconsumption habits.
Also, we discuss ‘stuff’, including fast fashion, plastic toys and kids’ clothing, and the many days we’ll spend over our lifetimes searching for stuff, because we simply have so much of it.
“Over consumption has just gone crazy and I think it’s a lot about the affluent society and this misguided belief that stuff makes us happy,” says Isaacs.
“It isn’t stuff that makes us happy, it’s loving the earth and experiences. We have to get back to that because if the world lives like we do here in Australia we would need four and a half planets… We need to take a breath before we buy stuff.”
And we discuss food waste, with Isaacs quoting figures that we waste one in five shopping bags of food — also why lolly bags/party bags have become so frustrating for parents.
“The only people who can change these things are us. At 1 Million Women we try to show that when you are part of a collective, millions of us doing the same thing, it shifts systems.”
Isaacs also shares some great ideas on energy efficiency at home. “Instead of looking at ten top tips on reducing your energy consumption, look at the rhythms of your house and the way you use energy. What are the lights you put on? Do you have to use a dryer, one of the biggest energy guzzling items in the household?”
Isaacs says getting your energy down by 20% is easy — it’s simply about addressing the low hanging fruit, the things that are left on or can be used less.
This week’s conversation comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its report calling on “urgent transformative” change needed to fight climate change.
While the scale of the problem can leave some of us feeling helpless, Isaacs is adamant that our everyday contributions are powerful and meaningful.
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