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Going Green for Future Generations

There is no more time for excuses. Janine Steeger, the author of 'Going Green' and Co-Founder of Futurewoman, explains why the conversation of climate change is crucial, speaks up about environmental issues and urges to take action. 'Green Janine' explains what steps to take for a sustainable lifestyle and why it's important to have courage to fail

You are the author of  ‘Going Green’. How did you get involved with sustainability?

My personal change started in 2011 when I was watching the Fukushima disaster. For the first time in my life, I suddenly had all these questions in my head: What are we doing? Why are we destroying our planet? What can I do about it? At first, I started to change a lot of things in my private life and even small shifts can make a difference, for example producing less food waste, eating less meat, using a coffee machine without capsules. In 2014 I was working as a host at a TV station. And over few months I had a lot of discussions there, because I wanted to do a show about sustainability and future lifestyle, but my bosses didn’t agree. And so I quit my job and started a business. My new lifestyle nowadays means a lot to me, because I feel the responsibility for my son and the next generations.

Speaking of future generations – what are the most important actions we have to take?

First of all, we all have to understand that there’s a really big problem and now is time to reroute. It’s our last chance! We are the last generation that could stop the climate change and people need to realize that. Every time when we act in private life or in business, we have to ask ourselves ‘Is there a more sustainable way?’. No excuses anymore. And I think that a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs realize that. But what we need right now is a political framework, we need incentives for sustainable behavior, action from governments.

What are the main ideas and principles of your company, Futurewoman?

At Futurewoman we are united in the engagement for our planet. We want to take care for the next generations. My co-founder and me believe that in order to make good sustainable decisions, we need diverse teams, therefore we need more women in leadership. That’s our goal at Futurewoman, we want to give women more visibility. I quite often am a moderator for events and it’s very common that I’m the only woman on stage. And there are so many female experts for sustainability out there! Our platform allows them to be discovered.

How can we encourage others to take action and be more environmentally friendly?

I think that a lot of people are aware of the climate change right now, but we do have a big problem with actually executing this knowledge. We know how we should live to save the planet, but this means that we would have to shift most of our habits and that’s very tough. And it’s not just about telling people what they have to do and to put them under pressure. That doesn’t work. I think we need more role models. People who lead sustainable lifestyles. And when they will get asked why or how are they doing that, a lot of people will realize that it’s a profit and not a deficit. Moreover, it’s absolutely necessary to implement this in our education system, so that kids can learn about the topic of sustainability at an early stage.

You’re a moderator, speaker, author and you started Futurewoman. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs to deal with the topic of sustainability?

As a freelancer or an entrepreneur, it’s easy to tackle that. After all, it’s your decision and sustainability is such an important topic for the future that it wouldn’t be smart to create a business case without considering it. It’s more tricky when you have an employer and you are interested in sustainability, but your boss isn’t. That was my problem in 2013 when I worked for the TV station. Every suggestion we made was blocked by the management directors. The only idea we could push through was the double sided print, because the company could save money with that! My advice for everyone who is searching for a new job and is interested in sustainability topics: You need the right questions for the job interview. You have to check if the company is really dedicated to it and if they have a strategy for sustainability.

Where does Germany stand regarding environment and awareness? Are we doing enough?

I think Germany is doing well, but we could be better and, more importantly, we have to be faster. A lot of people ask me if it really matters if Germany is getting better in climate protection, because in the whole world, Germany is just a drop in the ocean. But I think Germany, and especially the European Union, could be a pioneer in this topic. We have good budget, we have smart entrepreneurs and we are able to change the world and find solutions. But we need more speed and more courage, also more courage to fail. I think that’s not something Germans are so good at.

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