Guys of SFC: Michael
Part two of a three-post blog series introducing the male members of the SFC general executive for 2020, featuring Michael.
This is part of a three-post series of blogs introducing the male members of the SFC general executive for 2020. We want you to know who we are, why sustainability is important to us and why we got involved in SFC. We also want to start a dialogue about male culture and why it might be a barrier for involvement in sustainability.
Hi I’m Michael, I’m a third-year Engineering Science student and a ‘Super Fun Changemaker’ on the SFC general executive team! Sustainability is important to me, because we as people are one with the world. We have such power as a species, but we are not separate from our global society, nor the environment. So, to me, it makes sense to look after our people and planet for the sake of a better present and future. I hold this viewpoint due to my upbringing and the ideas my parents have instilled in me. I was lucky enough to develop a strong connection to the natural environment through a childhood of back-country tramping with my dad. I am also very aware of social issues thanks to my mum and her line of work as an educator and psychologist.
I joined the SFC because I saw it as my next step in finding purpose and effecting positive change. I wanted to push myself to not only better my own sustainable practices, but to help others better understand sustainability and how they can make a positive difference in their lives. I loved how engaging and achievable the SFC made sustainability through their events last year. I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of their amazing team.
Loves a good DoC volunteer project
In all honesty, I am still grappling with why male culture might create barriers for involvement in sustainability. There is a lot of speculation on this topic. Do men see sustainable practices as an attack on masculine identity? Is there a stigma attached with getting involved in a sustainability club? Are men generally just not empathetic enough? Maybe there is now a vicious cycle in some sustainability spheres: if they are predominantly female, then they will appeal predominantly to females, men might struggle to see themselves as a part of it, and so, they simply do not get involved. I’m worried that these are all potential barriers for men, but none of them should be. I think it still boils down to how we think of sustainability to begin with.
Different day, different place, same hat
For me, sustainability is a matter of logic and obligation. Because I see it as crucial to the planet and our prosperity, it has dissolved any thoughts of labels and stigma. I realise that this perspective comes from my own experience, but maybe it is the key to breaking self-imposed barriers. If anyone can see themselves as connected to the world and its environment, then sustainability becomes a much more appealing concept. It instills a natural sense of empathy and mindfulness into our daily lives. The challenging part is sharing that perspective, but it can be done with the right kind of educational engagement.
If you as a guy (or anyone for that matter) see negative labels, stigmas or perceptions with sustainability, I urge you to ask yourself why. I also urge you to do your own research on what it means to be sustainable and have a conversation with your mates about it. It’s definitely not an all-or-nothing endeavor, a few small changes here and there can make all the difference. Don’t let anything hold you back from getting involved. The SFC’s theme for this year is diversity after all!