Sydney: A Blog Takeover by Madeleine Hill #WomenCrushWednesday

This #WomenCrushWednesday we spotlight Madeleine Hill, a Women4Climate from the City of Sydney. In her blog takeover, Madeleine gives us a deep dive on her mentorship journey and the development of her climate project - Our Simple Gestures

Our Simple Gestures offers the first stop for people who want to live their lives more sustainably, starting with the home. It will fill the gap for those who want to commit to reducing their environmental footprint, but don't know where to begin.

The website simplifies and promotes a multitude of existing and emerging resources for personal sustainability. It will empower and engage individuals and communities across all stages of their environmental journey to help them make a greater positive impact to stop climate change.

Find out more about Madeleine's tool that helps people minimise their impact on the planet through more informed choices in the home and about her journey as a Women4Climate. 

The evolution of Our Simple Gestures through Women4Climate

Hi there! My name is Madeleine Hill, a mentee from the Women4Climate Sydney mentorship program that took place in 2019/2020. My project started as a very broad concept and area of work. Throughout the mentorship, I had the opportunity to develop an online platform that would simplify and make more accessible the things we can do to reduce our environmental footprint and provide a starting point for action. I had found the perfect space to refine and grow this idea amongst a network of inspiring and empowering women, in Australia and within the global network that is Women4Climate. 

Now 18 months since the start of the program, my project Our Simple Gestures launched in October 2020, presenting the simple shifts we can make in our daily choices and decisions, starting in the home. The site shares the information to educate and the tips to turn knowledge into action.  

I had spent the years prior to the program (and still today!) endeavouring to minimise my environmental impact, starting with a reusable cup and reusable shopping bag. In no time, the desire to minimise and look to more sustainable options permeated every aspect of my life and was well and truly front of mind. There are sometimes obvious solutions, and other times it requires some digging! This has informed the structure of the website and the three key areas which the content aligns with individual responsibility, minimising consumption and more environmental alternatives. The platform is a reliable resource and tool for others already undertaking OR starting their journey to improve their personal sustainability, the same way I did all those years ago (although with Our Simple Gestures, this now being possible in a much shorter time frame!). 

Lessons Learned

The process, development and growth of this project was made possible through Women4Climate in so many ways. The program was facilitated by the City of Sydney council who organised workshops, short courses, webinars and regular catch-up within the network. We had the chance to meet mentees from other cities through themed webinars and were encouraged to reach out directly to mentees working on similar projects. 

Overall, I walked away from the program feeling much more confident, empowered, motivated and self-assured than before. A key takeaway from my experience was patience, in every sense of the word. Not only in relation to my approach, but as an essential part of the process. The detail is often more time consuming than the dream, and embracing this became hugely satisfying and motivating, and overall crucial to the project and what it looks like today. The importance of collaboration was also a key learning, particularly in the climate change space and the type of solutions we are communicating. 

Environmental impact and future plans

Now that Our Simple Gestures has launched, new content will be updated regularly while continually finding ways to clearly present the information, tips and tools needed to minimise our impact. As users visit and return to the site and other channels, I hope to see engagement between the network of people and other sustainability platforms. Collaborations and partnerships are high on the list, as well as looking at the next phase of the website and how it will grow and develop to support the community. 

With the power of our simple gestures, we can have a positive impact on the environmental issues facing the world today. The hope is that Our Simple Gestures will help individuals and communities to access the information they need to take action and collectively do more for our environment.

Watch this space! And please reach out if you have any questions, any ideas or just to say hi! 

Take care out there!

Madeleine

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