| The Importance of a Multi-Sectoral Approach to Climate Action |
Growing up in my Caribbean household, I often heard the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” Whilst 6-year-old Lauren may have taken this statement quite literally, the current young adult version of me has a much better grasp of the meaning behind this phrase.
On one hand, to say that it takes a village to raise a child is to emphasize the importance of collaboration and teamwork in order to achieve the most beneficial results. On the other hand, this proverb also implies that in order for a child to grow up to be well-rounded and to have a full understanding of the world around them, they need to be exposed to a variety of values, lessons, and qualities that they can gain from their exposure to different types of people.
The fact of the matter is that the sentiment that a project or task is much more successful when it involves collaboration from an array of perspectives and experiences is a universal concept that can be applied to just about anything in life, especially climate action.
Lately, I have been increasingly interested in understanding the need for interdisciplinary solutions when it comes to addressing the climate crisis, particularly with a heavy focus placed on creating channels of communication between diverse fields to encourage collaborative approaches. The issue that I have come to notice during my time as an advocate for sustainability is that most of the time, valuable information is certainly generated and even disseminated, but it is only dispersed amongst those already in the field. Those outside the boundaries of the field in question often have only a basic (if any) understanding of certain issues that could be critical when applied to another field.
The more that we address the importance of intersectional climate action, namely focusing on inclusivity and acknowledging social justice issues in the sustainability space, the more we also need to recognize that climate justice requires a multi-sectoral approach. The tendency to attempt to fix such a multi-layered issue that expands over so many different fields without actually enforcing the collaboration and exchange of information and ideas within these fields is a large part of the reason why the climate agenda is far too stagnant. The most effective solution to a sustainability problem could lie in the combined knowledge of two or more fields but with information being so separated, even with the academic community, any collaboration is inefficient or worse, non-existent.
With this desire for increased exchange of ideas and resources, I have been extremely grateful for social media platforms that are working to create these forums for education and discussion. As unfortunate as it is to say (both to my parents who are breaking the bank to finance me and for the American education system at large), I have probably learned more in the past two months on Instagram since I started The Eco Gal than I have in the past two years at my Ivy League university. Even further, I have been exposed to so many creators in fields that I never would have known before if I hadn’t been looking to learn more online.
Beyond Instagram, social platforms like WONDR have been extremely helpful for me both in my personal journey to educate myself and to serve as an eye-opener that easy facilitation of information is not only possible but extremely effective! Since joining the app, I have been able to read more about the intersection between climate change and mental health and disabilities (which is honestly an intersection that I wasn’t aware of before) and I have been offered so many books and documentaries to read and watch to expand my own library of climate resources. I have also been able to create my own project on Intersectional Environmentalism that so many people have been able to read and learn from!
Apps like WONDR are so important to facilitate discussions and the exchange of information because they show how connected everything truly is and how much more there always is to learn. It’s so valuable for climate activists and mental health professionals or racial justice activists or refugee camp organizers to all be able to sit at the same table and work through these issues together. We all need to be a bit more open to learning more from each other and growing for the better from there.