CHANGEMAKERS SERIES | NATALIE ISAACS

The spirit of our NEW DAWN Collection embodies change, evolution + collaboration. These fine qualities are the very essence of the women we have featured in our series of inspiring Changemakers. 

Creating exacting change in many areas, from the environment to art, health and nutrition, these women bring our collection alive with their passion, power  + persuasion.

Natalie Isaacs is the founder and CEO of 1 Million Women, a global movement of 965,000 women (and counting) who are fighting the climate crisis by changing the way they live.

We spoke to Natalie about how everyday women can fight climate change and how every choice we make can change the world…

How did you come up with the concept of 1 Million Women? 

I used to be a cosmetics manufacturer and my life was really all about over packaging. I used to think climate change was someone elses issue. But a little over 10 years ago I had an epiphany. There were a few things that led me to this but what got me over the line was that I was able to reduce our household electricity down by 20%. I recieved the bill and saw that I had saved all this pollution (and money). I realised that I was powerful. I understood at that moment that what I do matters. That collectively we are powerful and if millions of us are doing the same thing then that can shift systems. I started 1 Million Women because I wanted to share that with millions of other women. I wanted to reach women from the city to the bush and to show them that every choice we make can change the world. 

What are the key objectives of 1 Million Women?

We empower, inspire and mobilise women and girls from every corner of the planet to live climate action through their daily lives, through every choice they make and through using their voice, influence and vote. We focus on the key areas of daily living. We focus on everything from saving household energy and clean energy options, addressing this crazy world of overconsumption, dealing with food waste, getting from A to B with the least impact on the planet, sustainable fashion and using our economic power, our voices and our vote for climate action.  

 Can you outline the top 5 ways women individually can help combat climate change?

  1. Switch your bank, superfund and other financial institution if you find they invest in fossil fuels. It is a big action with a huge impact. 
  2. Take a breath before you buy something and ask yourself “do I really need it?”.
  3. Just say no to fast fashion and buy quality pieces that last. 
  4. Challenge yourself to reduce your household food waste by 50%. It’s easy to do if you think differently about the food you buy. Create an ‘eat me first’ basket in your fridge to ensure that you’re eating older food first. Freeze food that’s on the verge of going off, and get to know portion sizes that work for you.  
  5.  Make your vote count. Hold politicians accountable for climate inaction.

How can we all play a part in lobbying the government to take responsibility for fighting climate change?

Governments are motivated by the pressure we put on them. If enough of us put pressure on governments from the local level to the federal governments, change will happen faster. So apply pressure on your politicians. Give your support to those politicians who will fight for climate action. Make your voice heard and your vote count and have conversations with others to do the same. 

How does it make you feel when you realise that you have the power to play a part in helping the climate crisis?

It’s empowering and exhilarating. It makes me optimistic and determined. When you are living climate action you fight for climate justice too. Never underestimate the power that you have as one person to change the world. 

What change have you seen in the role of young women climate activists in Australia? 

Over the past 10 years I have seen this story change so much, and more and more people getting active. In particular I have witnessed the empowerment of young women who have found their voices for climate justice. This is their future they are fighting for.

“Young women belong to the highest consuming generation in the history of humanity simply because everything is at their fingertips. So on the flipside, it’s their generation which is the influence and leader of not only today, but also the future. Their voices need to be included in the conversations we are having… We need to give young people power and agency. Talking to young women and being scooped up in their enthusiasm is one of my favourite things to do”

What is next for 1 Million Women?

There is so much going on at 1 Million Women at the moment. We have just launched our new App to help us all live with the least impact on the planet. Over the past few months we have created our LoveEarth Marketplace for all the brands, services, community groups and climate initiatives that we love and are truly helping us all live with the least impact on the planet.  Although we are a global movement we have always run our movement from our office in Sydney. It is time to shift that emphasis and I am hoping next year we will start to create more 'on the ground' 1 Million Women communities around the world.

What is your wish for change in the future?

My wish for the future is that we all emerge from this pandemic on a new path where we are creating a new world where the love of earth and community is more important than the stuff we buy. Where we leave no one behind and where living with the least impact on the planet is part of the fabric of who we are.   

Recommended Reading:  Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Natalie Isaacs

Download the App: 1 Million Women

Join the conversation: @1millionwomen