• Raven Bonniwell

Weird Weather: How Climate Change Calls Us to Leadership


Does anyone else struggle with February as much as I do??


Normally, February is full of relentlessly cold days and endless nights that start too early. It is the part of winter that gets colder when it feels like we should be on our way out of the deep freeze. It is the yearly reminder that winter doesn’t end after the holidays.


But this year, things were a little… different. I don’t know about you, but in D.C. we’ve been getting all these bizarrely warm days - beautiful in fact. Out of nowhere, there’s a day that’s 50 degrees and sunny, followed by a few more days just like it. And as much as I normally hate February for its nagging insistence on being winter - this doesn’t feel right. These are the real signs of climate change.


The million dollar question: Can I enjoy a warm day in the winter, even though it might mean that the world is falling apart?


Quick detour on our way to answering that question...


I was challenged recently by my coach to create a fully fleshed out leadership project. The project forced me to crystallize my charge for everyday leaders around the world.

For me, leadership is about responsibility. Imagine what the world would be like if everybody took responsibility for themselves. Responsibility looks different for everyone, we all have different calls to leadership, and if we all heeded that call, took action around that responsibility, we would live in a more peaceful, more unified, more healthy, more beautiful world.


The scale of our problems as a society can be daunting, to say the least, but the scope of our own lives is enough to make a difference. Leaders look to themselves first. They say, “What can I be doing better?” before looking at others. It can be scary to take responsibility, because it means saying, “I can change the world.” Which is kind of crazy for most people! But as far as I’m concerned, responsibility is not a dirty or burdensome word. It’s not an angry or sad word either. Responsibility is an empowering opportunity.


So, I am training people every day to be better leaders in society, and to take responsibility for their own actions while helping others along as well. Which brings us back to the creepy global warming days we’ve been having this winter…


Do I hate climate change? YES! It’s terrifying to think that our environment is suffering because of our actions. But does that mean I have to hate a beautiful sunny day in the middle of February? No, it doesn’t.


My call as a leader is to help incredible selfless women find joy in their lives again, while still getting it all done. My call is to train new coaches and bring more leaders into the world. My call is to run a kickass theater company, and to create beautiful performances. And my call is to do my part and reuse whenever possible, avoid taking flights if I can, and do whatever I can to help the planet.


My leadership, my development, my pushing forward and taking responsibility for my actions - these are the ways that I am doing something about the problem. So when a 60 degree day shows up where it shouldn’t, I can enjoy that day knowing that I am still working to make a difference in the world.


It’s a little bit like eating a slice of pizza… Maybe it’s not the best thing for your body, but if you are working out, taking care of your body, and eating as well as you can, it’s okay to enjoy a slice of pizza from time to time. If you aren’t doing any of those things, if you aren’t taking responsibility for your health, that slice of pizza becomes a symbol of self loathing.


A beautiful day in the middle of winter is a reminder. It challenges us to respond to the call of leadership. It asks the question: “Are you doing everything you can do to help?” If not, then it says, “Time to get it in gear, because climate change is real and we need to do something about it.”


If you are stepping into your power as a leader it says, “Keep it up!”



Originally posted on Linked-In