February newsletter intro…

Kia ora koutou and happy new year.

From all of us at Go Well Consulting we wish you a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead. A year that we collectively take big strides towards implementing the solutions to ensure we have a thriving future for all. Rest assured that is what we will be doing again this year at Go Well Consulting. 

We are making a few changes to our newsletter for 2024. Firstly, we will be publishing them every second month rather than every month, secondly we will be showcasing a business we have worked with to help us better explain the work these businesses do to achieve their goals (see Case Study of the Month below), and thirdly due to my tendency to drag out my opening “rants”, these will now be cut short with a link to the full article.

I don’t know about you but I found 2023 particularly challenging. It started with extreme weather events that violently illustrated the power of our changing climate and the repercussions of us continuing to live, trade, consume, and do business the same way. 

These weather events continued, especially for those of us in the North Island, throughout the year. Not having the usual Kiwi summer full of outdoor excursions and outdoor socialising had a bigger impact on me than I realised. 

On top of the devastating weather, we had skyrocketing inflation and interest rates which resulted in a massive loss of business confidence and huge uncertainties. It’s hard enough trying to engage, educate, and inspire businesses to do things differently when times are good!

Working with businesses across multiple industries, and of differing sizes, ages, and stages of their sustainability journey, we get a whole-of-economy view. We really noticed that many businesses were struggling to find the resources and headspace to deep dive into sustainability – let alone implement the required changes. This was highlighted even more for the smaller businesses, particularly those in retail, who often don’t have the cash reserves to weather a sustained decline in revenue. A concerning trend for those of us in sustainability, as it is often these smaller businesses that are trying new business models and new ways of doing things. 

Then came the turmoil of a general election. I’ve written about my disdain of elections a few times and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a democracy, but I find it hugely confronting when a platform is given to people who have such a lack of knowledge, or care (often not sure what it is), for the big issues we are facing and the solutions that we have at our fingertips. 

A recent post on Linkedin by David Hall provided me with some academic terms for this – “In political theory, we talk about “agonistic democracy”, which is a democracy that flourishes through and with differences of opinion, values and perspective. This is distinct from “antagonistic” politics which are riven by polarisation and divisiveness.” 

Needless to say, the fact that we have a government formed of people who want to repeal the ban on offshore drilling for oil and gas is not the outcome I was hoping for. I also find it infuriating that the talk of the election was about the cost of living crisis and yet now elected, all the government seems to be doing is talking about our treaty principles…??

Having had time to reflect on the election result it does say to me that there are still far too many Kiwis who don’t understand the interconnected crises of our current economic system – and the basic science that underpins these problems. I think there are many responsible for this failing, but those of us working in sustainability most certainly need to up our game. So it is a goal for us at Go Well to engage, educate, and inspire more people, and more businesses this year. 

This means more talks and presentations, more workshops, more courses, and more conversations. So keep an eye out as we roll these out throughout the year and feel free to reach out if your business would like to be better informed and assured you are on the path to solving our problems not exasperating them. 

If extreme weather events, a spluttering economy, and political uncertainty wasn’t enough for us to all deal with we then had the horrific acts of violence happening in far away lands. Wars that continue to this day and show little signs of stopping anytime soon. Wars that for me create an overwhelming sense of helplessness and guilt.    

It’s a lot for us all to deal with. But deal with it we must. 

One known solution to helping with such feelings is to be active in living to your values. Such examples might include volunteering at your local school, community centre, or through a charitable organisation. One of the highlights of my holidays was discovering local projects being run by local people (almost always voluntarily) to make positive impacts to their part of the world. Two standouts were Grow Wānaka and the Wairahi Tracks Charitable Trust in Langs Beach.

It was a much needed reminder that there are so many great people all around the motu (and the world) just getting on with doing what needs to be done. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the crises, wars and bad news, but we should never forget that we can all take actions to make the world a better place. 

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

So lets all make 2024 a year of positive actions, learning, and collaborative unity. 

Nick and the Go Well Team. 

This is the introduction to our February newsletter written by our Founding Director, Nick Morrison. Click here to read the newsletter in full.