Meet our April Climate Mama, Lisa Borden, our first climate mama from outside the lower “48.” Lisa “hails” from Toronto, Canada where she is a mom to 3 amazing children, and in her “spare” time is an eco-advocate, owner of Borden Communications and an incredible supporter and promoter of many non-profit organizations. We wonder if Lisa ever sleeps! We know you will enjoy learning more from Lisa as she shares her insights on climate change and environmental sustainability with us, while keeping us engaged and entertained with her unique style, high energy, positive focus and strong belief that each of us can make a difference!
Name: Lisa Borden
Current Position = Idea Girl/Eco-Advocate/Owner at Borden Communications
Current Adventure = Mother of 3
Parent or grandparent? Parent
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the steps you took, life events, decisions you made, that helped you arrive at where you are at today?
Personally, I have always been a motivator, and although not an intellectual, I have always prided myself on my common sense. I have always been someone who could and wanted to affect change (read: shit disturber), but [in fact] known for my integrity in my relentless pursuit of results.
When I was 22, I took my common sense and started a business just because I could not understand how no one figured out that the key to success was to actually deliver (or gasp! -over deliver) on every promise made. I then married my Summer Camp Sweetheart, Rob. I became a mother. Life became so much larger than ME. I truly believe that every mother wants the BEST for their children and we all go about it in our own ways. Although I breastfed, made my own organic baby food and bought the BEST (so I thought), I kept having these “WHAT?!?!” moments. How could I not have known about the phthalates in toys, why didn’t I connect the stink with the fact that they shouldn’t be manufactured, let alone be in my home? What about the flame-retardants and toxic chemicals on mattresses and strollers and highchairs? Triclosan? It was overwhelming. I don’t do overwhelming. So I broke it down to figure out how to do better. Then I broke down myself. Then I vowed to do better, care more, and be more active in making change that mattered to the bottom line – of our health, safety and our world.
My second child was again a catalyst for more change. She had/has allergies, includes skin issues. My father, a physician, got me in to see specialists – quickly – (a luxury in Canada!) How lucky (I thought then). Each person that I consulted prescribed steroid creams and ointments…they told me that if we refused to use them, my family life would suffer. SERIOUSLY. If my daughter was uncomfortable and unhappy, she wouldn’t sleep, my marriage would suffer, her brother wouldn’t function properly – but not to worry – all could be solved with toxic creams and antihistamines. RAGE followed, with a pursuit of a better option. I researched. I removed ALL products from my home with any unpronounceable ingredients. I cleaned my home top to bottom with microfiber cloths and water. My doctor and father didn’t believe that could have anything to do with changing my daughter’s health. But almost immediately her health improved – and they did agree that they “couldn’t argue with success”. It amazed me then, and still amazes me now that diet and lifestyle are not part of a doctor’s “services.” But change is happening, and I continue to want to be a part of it.
I don’t know that I’ve arrived anywhere, but I do know that I like where I’m going. I don’t stress about what I can’t personally do, but I do all that I personally can manage – In work AND in life – and, I feel more connected than ever and love it.
2. What inspires you to keep going, to keep fighting this challenging battle against climate change?
My husband and my 3 children – people are my everyday inspiration to continually seek out more innovative, more creative or simply better ways at doing the same thing. I am a self-declared Workaholic/Blackberry Addict/Chocoholic, who values Family Life as the most important part of life. Life is my challenge, but my life is worth.
3. What are the three greatest challenges you feel the world faces with climate change?
1. I believe that people end up getting caught in their own, or even other people’s debates about Climate Change instead of simply using the Precautionary Principle to get active themselves.
2. I think Climate Change in itself is a really BIG thing. I think people like to process LITTLE things. We need more education, but we need people to believe that little things do ADD UP.
3. Actual challenges of course that are realities are the natural disasters and ecological illnesses that are already wrecking havoc on us as a world. And if this is not yet apparent, it is happening in our own backyard. If we wait until we are certain that Climate Change is SOMETHING, it will be too late.
4. Scientific predictions seem to be pointing to dire scenarios, a shorter time frame for a warmer planet and all of the negative ramifications that this will cause. What will it take for us to avert these consequences?
I think dire scenarios and scare tactics are ridiculous. People simply need to know that whatever they are doing is good enough. If it’s “only” not using disposable plastic water bottles – that counts. If we ALL did that, imagine the change. In order to avert the consequences? I think we already are dealing with consequences…it’s a matter of doing better everyday, so let’s GO!
5. Do you see any hopeful signs that people are waking up to the dangers of climate change?
There are so many great campaigns, people and books urging us in different ways to take action, and I do believe people are listening more…which does lead to action. Sadly big business and government are often not our protectors and our supporters, we need to do that for ourselves. Those who realize this are already trying to create the solutions. And when each of us wakes up, we not only act for ourselves, but I think we become activists in our own way.
6. What advice would you give to other Climate Mamas and Papas, steps they can take as individuals and collectively to help change the course we currently find ourselves on with climate change.
Believe that you can make a difference; in fact, you do with every single choice you make. Your money is your power and each time you spend it, it’s a vote for something, so make it count. I personally live and work by this African Proverb – If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.
7. Other thoughts or ideas that you would like to pass on to our community?
I think again it’s all about our habits. We need better ones. When you throw something “away”, where do you think “away” IS??? When you go to McDonald’s, even once, what are you supporting? When you don’t speak up about school lunches, what are you teaching your children? When you clean your homes with chemicals, what are you telling the companies that produce them; what is the impact from these chemicals on our water and your indoor air? Positive change will usually result in saving you time, money, your health and the health of our planet. It’s got to be worth trying, no?
8. Contact information, website, or related story you would like us to link to this article?
Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. She is a dedicated workaholic, admitting that it takes a lot of time and effort to change the world, especially in her non-preachy, fun, engaging and inspiring ways. Lisa consults, writes, engages the media, runs private workshops, and enjoys speaking to large and small groups. Her full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc. is based in Toronto and takes great pride in being an ethical business providing exceptional ideas.
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Join the Borden Communications community at http://bordencom.ning.com
“Meet” Lisa by watching her video bio at http://videobio.com/lborden
Or reach her directly at email@example.com.
9. Favorite books or movie?
All my favourites can be found at our every growing list at www.bordencom.com/theBIGlist.html