Small steps can make huge differences

Climate action is needed, now. Although many of us accept this fact, it can be difficult to understand how to take positive action. When faced with such an enormous challenge, what can we do as individuals to help? We talk to Chevening Alumnus José Daniel Madrigal.

This was the question I was grappling with when I returned to my home country of Honduras after graduating from the London School of Economics with a masters in Urbanisation and Development.

To find answers, I leveraged my networks.

I started to involve myself in communities of people organised to discuss, debate and decide on action to reduce human impact on the planet. Soon, I became involved with the National Decarbonisation Plan of Honduras 2020-2050, working as a researcher with the Presidential Office of Climate Change. I reached out to the contacts I’d made on my Chevening year to come together and find ways to contribute towards tangible change.

The results of our collaborative efforts have been far greater than I’d ever imagined.

Five Memorandums of Understanding have been agreed between the Presidential Office of Climate Change in Honduras, several academic institutions, and organizations in Costa Rica, Chile, the United States and many other countries around the world.

I’m proud of the outcomes we’ve achieved so far, and I’m excited to start working on next steps. I intend to formally engage in talks with my university, the London School of Economics (LSE), later this year, to ask them for their support and guidance on the National Decarbonisation Plan, through their rigorous research and well-known reputation in social sciences.

My experiences studying in the UK and working on the framework of the National Decarbonisation Plan of Honduras have also presented new opportunities to tackle climate change.

Today, I work at the Inter-American Dialogue on the Energy, Climate Change, and Extractive Industries Program. I’m also proud to have been chosen as a Climate Ambassador by the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN).

My goal is to find ways for these communities of people, at the Inter-American Dialogue, GYCN, LSE, and Chevening, to work collaboratively towards a shared goal of effecting positive climate action.

With our collective efforts, it is my hope that we can influence those within our immediate vicinity to trigger positive action, and eventually, at the national and regional level too.

For anyone who is passionate about positive change but, like I was, is unsure where to begin, I hope these lessons learnt from my experiences are helpful:

  1. Stay in touch with your professors, academic mentors, and classmates.

The results of collective guidance and support is always greater than anything you can do alone, so it’s good practice to try to maintain positive relationships with those you meet from the very start of your career. What’s more, they may become lifelong colleagues or even better, good friends.

  1. Be proud of your achievements, however small they may seem at the time.

Even small achievements can have a lasting impact. As long as you’re working on an initiative that you’re passionate about, that will motivate you and keep you engaged for years to come, and will one day hopefully contribute towards meaningful, positive change, then you’re heading in the right direction.

  1. Build downtime into your weekly routines

Remember there are no easy solutions for complex problems. Tackling climate change certainly falls into that category. That’s why it’s important to find time to take stock and appreciate your efforts so far. It will give you energy for complicated times that may lie ahead.

  1. Never forget your end goals

Circumstances may change and you may need to adapt accordingly, but I believe that once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in the end, it becomes much easier to forge ahead.

Never forget your why, and you will find the answers to move forward and influence positive change.

Related news

Career success: What does it take?

Perseverance, empathy and self-reflection are all qualities that hold you in good stead for a long and happy career. Odonzaya Ayurzana, Principal Advisor HR at Rio Tinto Mongolia, shares why.

5 lessons for professional success

Our experiences shape who we are. Our successes, failures, monumental moments and everyday occurrences, all guide our life decisions and shape our identities. How can we use our experiences to help us succeed professionally?