Cat is the lead for Growth and Partnerships at 1Password as well as being an Ocean Advocate in her own time. In June 2018 Cat put down the keyboard and picked up a paddle to endure a 24-day expedition for marine conservation. The mission; to circumnavigate the island of Mallorca by paddle-board, was a world first and raised over €20,000 cleaning the seas and beaches of ocean plastic.
She recently offered us her perspective on the climate emergency.
Hey! Thanks for volunteering to judge The Climate Fixathon. What motivated you to get involved?
Climate change and the future of our planet is on my mind every day. I’m always thinking of ways to minimise environmental impact, both at 1Password and in my personal life. When I heard about the Fixathon I thought it sounded great and immediately wanted to get involved. It’s so good to see people using technology; one of humanity’s biggest achievements, to tackle a problem that poses the biggest threat to our future.
How does the climate emergency make you feel and how do you deal with these feelings?
So many feelings! The climate emergency can make me feel any combination of overwhelmed, frustrated, isolated, desperate and insignificant.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings but I try not to let them weigh me down too much. Science suggests that positivity is more powerful than negativity in creating change and I trust science. We are lucky enough to experience this wonderful world and we have the chance to save it.
Have you made any changes within your own life to help with the climate issue?
I have made a lot of changes. One of the first things I did, after seeing how much plastic is in our oceans, was to stop buying plastic bottles and, where possible, food wrapped in plastic. I find it really difficult deciding what food to buy. I’d love to only buy locally sourced seasonal produce and products without palm oil in but it’s not always easy! I do what I can by eating less meat and dairy. I’ve also started to take fewer flights and use public transport & my bicycle more. Most recently, we switched our energy provider at home to one that sources renewable energy.
What advice would you give to others who want to help fix the climate but aren’t sure how?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of the issue, try breaking it down by focussing on just one of the challenges we face. With many small solutions, we can create something much bigger!
Think about the ways you can instigate change. What has made you change your behaviours? Inspiration — Education — Information — Social Factors?
My advice would be; explore the reach of what you can create. Across the world, communities have their differences — languages, beliefs, cultures and priorities, but there is one similarity that stands out: people are engaging with technology more than ever before.
Are there any problems related to the climate emergency that you think we’re well placed to help solve with software and the web?
Software and the web have an undeniable power to explore, connect and involve populations. This can be used to educate and education is a great step towards changing behaviour.
Aside from this, I believe we can use technology to address established systems, that we know already work, and resign them to create earth positive outcomes. For example, loyalty reward systems for spending — what if we change that reward so that spending leads to trees planted/rainforest bought/mangroves extended?
What is the biggest challenge you feel humanity needs to overcome if we are to successfully prevent earth’s climate breaking down?
Capitalism. To see big changes we need to get the attention of political leaders, and multinational corporations to make the climate more important than profit.
What do you think is stopping people from doing more to fight climate breakdown?
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
— Robert Swan
I think people don’t realise that they CAN make a difference. There’s so much doom and gloom messaging around global warming, ocean plastic and the world ending. It makes people want to shut off, turn up the heating and order a takeaway. To fix the climate we have to empower every person to feel positive and make behavioural changes.
It’s also really hard to engage people who are less connected with the natural world. It’s easy for me to feel passionate about the oceans and the outdoors because I grew up at the beach; most of my most valued memories involve these places so it’s emotive. For someone who grew up in the city and hasn’t known the outdoors, it’s a bigger challenge to provoke those emotions.
Are there any climate projects or movements that have impressed you or you’d like to draw attention to?
I’m part of this really cool community called Protect Blue where Ocean Advocates from all over the world get together to learn, meet, share and connect over climate-based projects. There are so many people and movements I’ve discovered, to name a couple — Stefano Bellomo, the Adventure Biologist whose goal is to inspire people into saving the planet by immersing them in nature.
Alan Laubsch, and his concept redesigning blockchains to create a marketplace where every act of consumption is met with a greater act of regeneration https://generation.blue/.
Finally, there are some really great leaders in enterprise like Starboard & Patagonia. These guys are paving the way for sustainability in commerce with eco-balanced business models and plastic offset programmes.
Do you have any recommended resources that helped you learn about climate breakdown?
My most highly recommended resource is free: go outside. Go camping, trekking or swimming in the ocean, education through experience is incredibly powerful.
Following that, David Attenborough’s Planet series’ are incredibly impressive and thought-provoking. I get a lot of information from reading The National Geographic and New Scientist magazines and I’m just making a start on the Extinction Rebellion handbook, This Is Not A Drill.
Finally, what’s your advice to participants of the Climate Fixathon?
Dream BIG but don’t be afraid to start small.