Hello,my name is Santa.I am one of those who came from the academic world - and left it. In 2010, after I completed my LLM in Environmental law from the University of London, I was eager to find out more about the topic that mostly left me feeling guilty and at times even helpless: yes, I am talking about this thing called "sustainability". It is not that I hadn't been trying. I had dedicated my thesis on the Precautionary principle and I did not take up a position as Environmental lawyer at building companies or British Petroleum, who were luring us into working for them. But then what about my foot print in my private life? I was trying to eat less meat, but then I went out too much, ate out, consumed, since I love clothes...I knew, but the doing part was very hard. And I decided I wanted this to change. I thus founded the web based idea factory FindingSustainia together with the economist Dr.Franz Dietrich from the London School of Economics and the German organic farmer Caroline Kamp in London.Through my project I met a lot of interesting projects and people ranging from recycling artists to people who make juices out of vegetables and fruit that would have been thrown away. I cooked with a cook who only cooks with "food waste" and I wrote about all of this. FS was even awarded winner project of the German UNESCO & dm "Ideen Initiative Zukunft". However - and this one still bothered me: My footprint was still far from ideal. As many people with friends and family all over, I had too many air miles and while I consumed green I consumed lots still. Also,I felt FindingSustainia was still very static and intellectual in its core. Meeting Anna on a Think Tank 30 conference started out as a chatty encounter with a promise of collaborating in something meaningful in 2014. After intensive deliberation over coffee lead to the idea of creating monthly self-study-challenges in the wide field of sustainability and to share it with the (German speaking) world. The Think Tank 30, a German sustainability think tank, and the German Club of Rome directly liked our concept and supported our efforts from the beginning. Quite quickly we found out that this is much more thrilling and life changing than we had ever anticipated: coming from academia and doing something very real! And not only did we love sharing these experiences, people shared them with us and we exchanged our ups and downs! From a "book project" we quickly changed to a "blog concept" with regular chats, publication of experiences, interviews and hints, interaction with readers, etc. Not or less consuming, eating mainly vegan (with meaty and vegan exceptions afterwards), significantly reducing packaging - all of this became possible and we even experienced that this change is not painful at all. What we also didn't know is how good it feels to challenge together with others, learning from them and telling them what we have learnt... We did this all by ourselves, without funding - but were rewarded immensely by all this positive feedback, media interest and collaborations with different interesting people.
Even though we had planned to only self-study one year, Anna and me have decided to continue and to bring our challenge-approach to another, non-virtual level and help firms,schools and whichever group to imitate our Challenges. We further want to organize events and workshops to inspire others with our experiences and those of the fascinating variety of team members we have - and get further inspiration.