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Future sustainability leaders: Maia Tarling-Hunter



What will business look like in the future and who are our future leaders?

This is the next instalment in our series speaking with a group of young people who are making waves in sustainability. All 12 are scholars on Forum for the Future’s renowned master’s course in leadership for sustainable development.

A former secondary school teacher, Maia Tarling-Hunter decided to switch careers and focus on sustainability. Here, she tells us about some of the key lessons she has learnt over the past year.

Tell us about your experience on the Forum for the Future master’s course. What have your placements involved?

My experience on the Forum master’s course has been fantastic. After four years of secondary school teaching, this course has eased my transition into a different sector.

I wanted to develop my knowledge in sustainable development from experts across the field and over the year I’ve been exposed to a wide range of individuals and organisations. I’ve explored policy research with the Green party, been a press officer with Project Dirt, developed an employee engagement campaign at EDF Energy and I’m now working in the marketing department at Triodos Bank.

I’m feeling confident and excited about moving onto a more permanent job role, though I’ll be really sad to finish this year in July.

Where does your interest in sustainability come from? 

For me, sustainability is about social responsibility. I strongly believe in our duty as human beings to look out for, on the one hand the environment, but also for each other. I believe a disregard for the limits of the environment also reflects a disregard for the wellbeing of other people – by working to create a more sustainable society, I want to address that.

I think this is more urgent than ever with the impending impact of climate change and with the gaping inequality in our society: one in 10 Britons are now a millionaire while almost 1 million are reliant on food banks to feed themselves and their family. Working to create a more sustainable and more balanced society is one way I hope to have a positive impact.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your course? 

Having lived abroad at several points in my life, I thought of myself as quite adaptable – but this course has really taught me how to be adaptable. Starting a new job four times in one year, in four very different organisations and in four very different roles has been challenging.

The best piece of advice, from Forum staff and from fellow scholars, has been ‘just go for it’. I’ve learnt to throw myself into a new role very quickly and I’ve hugely developed my self-confidence when tackling new tasks. If you’d asked me at the beginning of the course to write an MP’s brief, organise a press campaign or run a focus group with nuclear engineers, I might have balked slightly. But I’m proud to say I’ve done all of these things very successfully this year.

What’s most important business lesson you’ve learnt? 

Just because a business is required to make money, this doesn’t mean business is a bad thing. This might seem obvious, but coming from a public sector background, I felt slightly cynical about the intentions of businesses to be more sustainable. Actually, I’ve found out that there are huge amounts of exciting things happening in the business world that are really driving sustainable development.

What one idea do you think could change the world for the better?

Our concept of value in the modern western society is warped. I think we need to return to the basics of what we value: the wellbeing of each other and our surroundings. Instead, we’re obsessed by plastic gadgets and virtual assets that are driving a bigger divide between people than, I think, they’re creating.

Without sounding too ‘let’s get back to nature, guys’, I do believe that trusting, open human interactions create a happier society. I can see how some aspects of our increasingly digital world contribute positively to wellbeing, but I don’t believe that they should be the most prized value of our society – or come at the expense of people and the planet.

What do you see of the future in terms of sustainability, business and the environment? 

I think that if you’ve chosen to be involved in sustainable development, you need to be optimistic. The amount of cross-sector (public, private and charity) conversations and collaboration that are happening at the moment is very encouraging.

I do believe there is a societal shift occurring towards a more sustainable mindset and that business has an important place in developing this. I’m not sure it’s happening at a fast enough pace to truly safeguard the environment, but those businesses that are currently active in promoting sustainable development are inspiring real change.

Where will you be in 10 years’ time?

I’d like to be able to define myself as an ‘expert’ in an area of sustainable development in 10 years’ time and be in a position where I’m using that expertise to contribute to a more sustainable world. To get there, I’d like to work in a role which focuses both on developing my expertise through research and on practically applying that research in the real world.

Further reading:

Future sustainability leaders: Ruth Shave

Future sustainability leaders: Angela Green

Future sustainability leaders: Andrew Adam

Future sustainability leaders: Zoe Draisey

Future sustainability leaders: Rebecca Trevalyan

Future sustainability leaders: Sam Gillick

Future sustainability leaders: Patrick Elf


How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018



Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art |

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly


Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint




reduce carbon footprint
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock -

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.


One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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