Changes to everyday choices at team GLP

At our inaugural Innovative Leaders Series event last year, modern day wizard-rogue and leadership adviser, Dr Jason Fox gave GLPers some advice – choose a word to guide your year, a ‘fuzzy beacon to pull you back on track and stay true to your intention’.

Our word for 2016 was catalyst, this year we decided on;

vision / ˈvɪʒn
the ability to think about or plan the future with great imagination and intelligence
the act or power of seeing

Oxford Dictionary & Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 We want GLP to give you new ways of seeing, and the imagination and knowledge to dream up a vision for your future and the future of our global planet. It is our hope the Program will provide you with the skills, knowledge and tools to act on that vision.

When choosing our word of the year we were mindful that, in the words of Dr. Fox, ‘It might be tempting to default to something convenient. Words like success, love, and growth. Now, these words are nice — but nice ain’t going to cut it. Your One Word needs to live with you through the year. It needs to be distinct.’

We agree nice won’t cut it. So whether its ethical fashion, access to clean water or sustainable design, we have each chosen a vision for the year and we will make sure we act on it.


Team GLP!

Chloë – ethical fashion


Chloe fashioning her scarf as a beanie so she could cycle around Sweden’s Gotland Island without freezing her ears off (it was supposed to be Midsummers)!

Did you know we purchase 400% more clothing today than we did just 20 years ago? Well, it’s possible my past habits accounted for about 395% of that.

Everyone who knows me, knows I love clothes. Fashion, to me, is a lifestyle and an art. But my other love is making choices that support happy, healthy people and animals on a happy, healthy planet – and when the reality is that the fashion industry (the 3rd largest industry in the world) is a major global contributor to environmental degradation, that there are endemic ethical issues in fashion supply chains, namely child labour, (extremely) low wages, and health and safety risks, and it’s responsible for a lot of animal cruelty – well it all sends my cognitive dissonance into overdrive.

My vision for 2017 is to find a way for my two loves to coexist, and there’s already a name for this: ethical fashion.

I’ll be volunteering with social enterprise and app Good On You, taking a online course with the Sustainable Fashion Academy and campaigning to make it compulsory for all offices across the University to procure their promotional t-shirts through ethical companies.

After all, 87% of global consumers believe business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests. There are a lot of us who feel the same way and we are the ones with the buying power – meaning it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the wise thing to do, (and of course we can still look good doing it).

Jeanette – #makecivicssexyagain

I am someone who relishes in Election Day and is, for the most part, non-partisan. Besides keeping myself informed, recently I feel I have not been able to engage with politics in a meaningful way. This year I will be flexing my civic muscles and writing one parliamentary submission a month.

  1. These submissions will allow me to have some influence in the law making process benefitting myself and those in the wider Australian community.
  2. This will be a learning experience that will allow me to participate in the democratic process and have my voice heard.

Jeanette at the DMZ with North Korea in the background on a Harvard World Model United Nations excursion

“Get involved in an issue that you’re passionate about. It almost doesn’t matter what it is … We give too much of our power away, to the professional politicians, to the lobbyists, to cynicism. And our democracy suffers as a result.” – Barack Obama

Clare – nothing new all year


Clare in Nepal conquering Everest…well trying to!

If every person in the world consumed like we do in Australia, we would need 4.8 Earths to sustain us.

Earlier this year, I had one of those moments, as I’m sure you all have, where you say ‘why did I buy this?’ The item in question was a bright yellow dress with pineapples all over it (I’ve worn it once to our Hawaiian themed office Christmas party). Every time we buy we are essentially voting, and, unfortunately, what we are often voting for is greater pollution and deforestation, exploitation of workers and depletion of vital natural resources. While recycling and ethical consumption are important steps in the right direction, it is my belief, that unless we change the mindset around the need for more and more not much progress will be made. After all, each year in Australia nearly 20 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill. As a country we have admitted to spending $10 billion every year on goods we do not use. By way of comparison, that amount exceeds spending by the Australian government on universities and roads.

So I’m going cold turkey. Nothing new all year. Inspired by the awesome Belinda Bean in Sustainability, I will only be buying the essentials and those things you really don’t want second hand – namely underwear and toothbrushes. I’m hoping it will lead to new opportunities for sharing, collaboration and creativity (my friend is crocheting me an iPhone case) – plus it’s good for my wallet and a healthier, happier planet!

Emily – everyday choices for safe water

In 2015, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation reported that 663 million people – or 1 in 10 people – do not have access to safe water. For someone living in a country where clean drinking water flows freely from the tap, and bottled water is actually a commodity to be purchased from supermarket shelves, it seems incomprehensible that 315,000 children die from drinking dirty water. NGO WaterAid sets an annual challenge every year to empathise with those who do not have access to clean water by taking the Walk 4 Water Challenge – either walk 10,000 steps a day, or only drink water, to remind us of ‘the daily journey that people – primarily women and children – in developing countries undertake to collect water.’


Emily at the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

So I decided to do it too. I’ve decided to not only try to achieve the 10,000 steps a day goal, but also only drink water. I’ve made a commitment that if I do take a sip of anything but H20, I will be making a $10 donation per cup that I drink. It’s tough, especially as I love coffee, and I’ll admit – I have had one coffee since the start of this month. But for someone who has taken clean water for granted all my life, at least this year I will be able to empathise a lot more with the other people’s situations, and help support an important cause.

Alisha – sustainable design


Alisha in Australia’s red centre

You may not know I am studying Interior Design part-time on the days I am not here at Macquarie. It is interesting to see my lives overlap, as many of the key global issues we discuss in GLP also applies to interior design. In fact, the way we approach a project in interior design involves design thinking principles, one of the suite of skills future employers are looking for and we contribute to here at GLP. How we work, study, play and live should have environmental and social sustainability at its core. So this year I am investigating how our office space here at Macquarie can implement more sustainable principles, including whether it is possible to have automated lights in our office and how we can better use natural light.

Caroline – learning for learning’s sake


Caroline’s second visit to the Parthenon, Athens, Greece

When I completed my Masters in late 2015, after almost seven years of study and full-time work, the last thing I wanted to do in my leisure time was pick up a book or learn – I was done. No more readings, no more assignments – ever. In 2016 I discovered the joy of free time. I could finally go to the gym every night after work, pick up a new hobby. Did I do any of these things? No! My free time was increasingly taken up by TV and Facebook, and what I discovered was that I really missed learning. I realised that I still wanted to engage with issues that mattered to me, and I wanted to do more than just ‘like’ a post on Facebook. So, when the GLP Team decided to ‘live’ our ‘Vision’ in 2017, I decided to put into practice one of the core features of our program – learning outside of the classroom. Learning about global issues is something I am passionate about, so I am going to utilise the research and critical thinking skills I learnt as a student here at Macquarie, to expand my understanding of topics that I care about, such as Feminism, Language, Human Geography, Anthropology, Higher Education, Student Mobility and Politics. I’m going to take advantage of Macquarie’s amazing Library and Databases, and I committing to read at least one academic article per week.  Your education doesn’t end when you graduate, and you shouldn’t want it to. Stay passionate, stay informed and stay engaged!

Do you have a vision for the year?

Share it with us! We’d love to start a movement (at least within GLP), so tell us your vision and word for the year and we’ll share it on the GLP blog.  

Or join us! If a particular vision resonates with you, pledge to join us.



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