In April we celebrate Earth Day. April 22 is also my Dad’s birthday, so the birthday-earth day conjunction has always been a strong one for me. As spring begins to make itself felt, it becomes a potent moment to both reflect on and celebrate renewal in many forms. April is also Integrated Work’s birthday—we turn 23 this year and are grateful to still be building on the strong foundation our Founder, Jessica Hartung, established for us by believing it was possible to create a human-first organization dedicated to doing good work in more conscious and humane ways.
Our commitment to helping leaders Amplify their Impact and make a bigger difference together has given us many opportunities to help environmental organizations partner powerfully across stakeholder groups to chart healthier and more vibrant futures. In 2019, we partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Arizona to develop an Arizona Thrives framework that has since evolved into a thriving alliance of local and regional leaders working to promote clean air, clean energy, and a clean economy. Later that same year we began another TNC partnership in Washington State, helping them evolve their Floodplains by Design efforts and continue to support them in developing a long-term sustainability plan for the work as leadership transitions to a new backbone organization. This year we also forged an exciting new partnership with the Center for Nature and Leadership focused on helping leaders leverage the wisdom of nature to fuel our own personal and professional growth.
Since the Biden-Harris administration took office just over three months ago, they have taken decisive action on many environmental issues including returning the US to the Paris Climate Accord and developing a Build Back Better economic recovery plan that places energy and climate issues at the center, focusing on both the physical and the human infrastructure needed to lead effectively in the 21st century.
While large-scale policy efforts like these are needed to address accelerating climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are still many everyday actions that we can all take to make a meaningful difference. A list of micro-actions developed by the Rainforest Alliance emphasizes simple moves like minimizing food waste, educating girls (yes, this is an environmental action!), eating a plant-rich diet, being aware of and managing refrigerant usage and conserving the tropical forest. Elsewhere along the political continuum, Bloomberg offers these suggestions: plant a tree, avoid single-use plastics, recycle at home and at work, avoid ocean-harming products, plant wildflowers and create bee havens, use natural products and methods of pest control, walk to work or school instead of driving, buy less stuff, help keep communities clean, and perhaps most importantly—get involved!
I grew up in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York on lands originally inhabited by the Mohawk and Iroquois people. The seventh-generation principle, that the choices we make today should ensure sustainability seven generations into the future was woven into the fabric of my upbringing. If you’re reflecting on what else you can do, this year’s Earth Day theme is Restore Our Earth and this powerful action toolkit can inspire you to contribute in the ways that are right for you and your community.
What can you do to renew and restore yourself and our planet this month?