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Today We Will is an impact newsletter. Every weekday morning, it reveals a sustainability tip we can all do that day. The magic of this newsletter is that it uses the power of we, positively. One task. For one day. Done by all. That’s how we create positive change. Today we cover from the funniest to the weirdest tip, and we go through a lot of ideas and some of the best tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Even if you have never experienced anything similar before, here you will find encouraging and enjoyable ways to contribute to a better world!
We interview one of our favourite partners, Olivia Gossett Cooper, a wonderful human being and founder of the Newsletter Today We Will. She delivers one easy tip on your inbox on a daily basis in four lines or less. Here she shares some of the best tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle, step by step, easily and without pressures! So without further ado, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Hi Olivia, please explain a bit what is your background?
I worked as an advertising and product copywriter until 2016. Then, something clicked, and I realized I wanted to use consumer-facing communications and products to lead society into more sustainable habits rather than just selling useless things to them. So, I enrolled as an MBA in Sustainability student at Bard College and graduate in May 2018.
What was the tipping point for you to make a shift to a more sustainable way of living?
I literally talk to plants and trees. Nature is not only my happy place but something I feel a part of and for which I have great respect.
When I work, I work really hard. I realised that, if I’m going to be working until 10 pm on something, it better be on something I am passionate about, and I chose the respect of our planet. I looked up job roles I aspired to hold and realised that many of them required sustainability degrees or experience I didn’t yet have. So, I applied for the sustainability MBA.
How and why this end up in a form of a newsletter, Today We Will?
I actually had the idea for ‘Today We Will’ Newsletter while I was sitting at my desk at an advertising job. I wanted to create something that would go to people so they didn’t have to think about finding the tips on a website or similar. There was a rise in newsletters at the time, like Lenny and The Skimm. I was inspired by them and thought it was the perfect channel for reaching people for everyday tips. It wasn’t until I started my MBA that I had the time to build and launch it.
In your opinion, which actions do we see are the most unsustainable in our everyday lives and how can it lead to a ripple effect that let us stuck in an unbalanced way of living?
An unsustainable habit that has a harmful environmental ripple effect is definitely buying clothes made from synthetic fibres. We have a big microplastic pollution problem — it’s now in our salt, fish, oceans, and even in the tap water we drink, including in cities like NYC, not just in “faraway” places. Every time we wash clothes made from polyester etc., we add thousands of bits of microplastic to our water system.
Good news is it’s an easy fix. Just start opting for natural fibres! We can change the course. I wrote a blog post about where to find athletic clothes made from all or mostly natural fibres.
What we find pretty amazing is how you manage to create tips to cover almost every day of the year. How do you come up with these many tips?
With every lifestyle decision we make, there’s an opportunity to do something that’s more sustainable.
For ‘Today We Will’, I just started taking note of which sustainable choices would both really make a difference when done collectively, and be easy to adopt.
Of course, sometimes I go a few days without noting anything I haven’t already shared, then I’ll do some searching on social media or reexamine an environmental issue and new ways of helping it.
You must be a very creative person to shape 365 tips a year. How do you identify the opportunities in your every day to creatively be more sustainable?
The reality we live in can sometimes have us operating on “auto” mode, doing things by habit, the way we and others have always done them. It’s easy to see how differently we can approach everyday activities when we start thinking for ourselves and asking “How do I think this should be done?”. Just so happens, that when I ask that question, the answer is “respectfully, with the smallest environmental impact.”.
From there, everything, from the way I make my bed (with no fitted sheet that needs extra material) to the way I go jogging (picking up plastic along the way), can be different than the status quo.
Is there any particular tip that has made a massive change in your life?
I would never suggest the ‘Today We Will’ go plant-based because it’s too big of a lifestyle change. But, doing it myself almost three years ago has been the biggest and best change in my life.
As far as a tip that has been suggested to the community, switching to only bar soap — from the body, hand, shampoo, and conditioner— has been a great change in my life. It’s such an easy switch but has really reduced the packaging waste, including bottles, tops, spouts, labels, and pumps. Not to mention, I LOVE how the change decluttered my shower and looks so much nicer on my sink tops.
What has been the most popular tip between your audience?
The one I get the biggest reaction to is “Today We Will choose the lonely banana.”. And, I get it! It’s the epitome of a small action that is so easy to do, that we might not have thought of on our own, and that, collectively can have a big impact.
What is the funniest tip you have ever seen or created?
“Today we will sleep naked.”, got a fun reaction. The style of the newsletter is very to-the-point and not slanted. So, I think people were surprised to see the word “naked” coming from ‘Today We Will’.
And what is the most, so to say, “weird” but useful tip?
“Today we will let it mellow if it’s yellow.”, would be the one that people thought was the weirdest, but is really important. Knowing there is an increased shortage of drinking water, we need to save wherever we can. Every time we flush away pee, we’re also flushing away 1.6-7 gallons of water (https://www.conserveh2o.org/toilet-water-use). So, yeah, let it mellow if it’s yellow! Not forever, obviously.
Of all the tips on your list, is there any you still find difficult to implement?
My husband and I are usually away on weekends, so it’s hard to plan around farmer’s markets. At the grocery store, I still try to buy only local produce that’s not in plastic, but it would be so much better to buy directly from the farmers with no packaging at all. I also don’t want to get the fresh produce shipped because of the boxing and packaging that comes with that, not to mention added trucks on the road. We’re working on finding a way to make the farmer’s market shopping work.
Are there any particular tips you’d like to give to those that struggle to find creative ways to live more sustainably? Let’s imagine a case scenario of someone that has not ever been in touch with a more sustainable lifestyle. With what would you encourage them to start with?
Start with one environmental issue and focus on it — climate change, water conservation, plastic, etc. There are so many environmental issues to tackle, it can be paralyzing. I find that starting with one is a great way to get educated and passionate about something. From there, you’ll quickly notice how you’re contributing to that issue and adjust accordingly.
With so many tips delivered on our inbox, how would you encourage people to follow them? What is the best way for us to adopt some of your tips that end-up in permanent habits?
I find that people tend to pick the tips that really speak to them and incorporate those into their lives.
Sharing our favourite tips with friends and family is helpful because we remember what we teach and share more than what we just read. Also, it doesn’t hurt when those same friends adopt those tips and you fuel each other!
The other tips serve as interesting ways to learn about sustainability and entertainment (what tip will they think of next?!)
If you could write a message on a wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
“Today We Will”
It’s important to remember that, when we work together, the fate of “what’s next” lies in the hands of the masses, not the few. Together, today we will make the future.
And of course! What is the exclusive tip of the day?
“Today We Will reward good brands.” Isn’t it amazing that Unilever quietly started an “eco” beauty line because it felt the heat of the competition from smaller “eco” beauty lines? Our rewarding those good brands by buying them over “bad” brands, by sharing our love for them on social media, and by recommending them to friends is what drives change from bigger companies like Unilever. Not to mention, encourages those good brands to keep on being good.
Where can people subscribe to your newsletter, join your community and eventually share some tips with you?
Any other similar newsletter you really enjoy receiving on your inbox? Share it with us in the comments below!
Oh hey! And we have a gift for you: if you’d like to go plastic-free easily here is an ebook with 80 tips download here for free!