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If you’ve found your way to this take action theme then you’re probably interested in demystifying sustainability. Taking the great big wicked complex idea that is sustainability (real sustainability not the green-washed version you see in marketing) and working it from its abstract wicked-complex context, to simple values based actionable plans for your Sustainable Self to successfully enact.


The content we cover this month ties together the approach we take to guide your year of sustainable action in our Self-Coaching planner, with some of the free resources that exist on this website.

Join us now as we start with an exploration of what sustainability REALLY means (in its wicked complex glory), understand how your Sustainable Self fits into the picture, identify what your values are and how they can be used as a navigational system, and scale the wicked complexity back to simple, easy to implement actionable steps for sustainable living success.

The outcome?

Your Sustainable action plan simplified!

Let’s get started.


This post is your part of our  ‘Sustainability Simplified’ content. If you love it, click the ‘back’ button for more information about living life in Sustainable Style.


Each of our ‘Take Action’ themes has its own natural symbol. The use of symbology and storytelling has been harnessed by Indigenous groups for generations and has since been researched as an effective tool for committing knowledge to long term memory.

We’ve selected coral as our symbol for simplifying sustainability. Many of us will have seen (either in real life or media) the beautiful, complex, unique and vast deposits of coral that make up our worlds reef habitats. Coral offer so many ecosystem services to the world, offering a biodiverse habitat for oceanic life, protecting our coastlines from erosion, cycling nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen, and offering human amenity in the form of food, medicine and tourism. While of great importance and with direct links to the pillars of sustainability, these aren’t the main reason why we selected coral.

Coral has been chosen as a symbol of sustainability for its lifecycle. If you’re not aware of how coral thrives (or need a refresher) let’s recap. Before we start, the caveat for this information is that there are variations in the specifics based on coral species (corals can be soft or hard, they are individual polyps but also a collective colony) and geographical location but generally there’s a broad approach that most corals take. Coral spawns en mass once a year, usually after a full moon and dependent on other environmental factors (water temperature, tide, and salinity to name a few). This spawning releases eggs and sperm from the gut of the polyps and colonies into the water. The bundles of sperm and eggs float to the surface, and if successfully fertilised, form a larval coral called a planula. The planula buds, cleaving itself into two, then four, eight- until it reaches what is called ‘prawn chip’ stage. All the while being mobile within the ocean. From this point, it turns in on itself into a ‘bowl shape’ and elongating before finding and anchoring itself to its forever-home in its sessile stage of life.

From here the tiny coral colony can bud, grow, and become the beautiful adult form that we are most familiar with.

This is a symbol for simplifying sustainability for two reasons. The first is that coral and reef structures are complex, beautiful, confusing, and vulnerable to mass changes. As we see in step one of Simplifying Sustainability, the issues we face as a global human population are challenged by the diversity, complexity, and geographical differences. Sustainability, much like coral reefs, are complex! Even if we look at a single coral colony we will find a great deal of complexity in the daily function of the polyps with tide, species, and the ecosystem in which is located. Coral polyps and coral reefs illustrate the beauty, fragility, and complexity of our collective human experience.


The second reason for coral as a symbol for simplifying sustainability is the alignment between the coral lifecycle and our four G’s approach to simplifying sustainability. Consider yourself and your sustainability journey as a fertile time for new ideas and new ways of doing things. You may wish to build the equivalent of a grand or great reef when you start your sustainability journey (let’s face it, the ‘Great Barrier Reef’ sounds more appealing than the term ‘coral polyp’). However, most of us will find our Sustainable Self will be best served by focusing on the fertilisation of ideas, cleaving these ideas by adding new go-for-it steps, and turning our small sustainable steps into bigger ‘prawn-chip’ actions. Eventually, when we’ve played around with ideas based on our Values Motivators, we will find a sustainability mission that we want to embed into our life. Anchoring this good, great, or grandiose mission into our life. This means that rather than moving fluidly from one trending sustainability topic to the next, we really embed and commit to this mission, in hopes of growing it from just our settlement self, to bud into a colony that may include ourselves, or family, an online or community reach, or perhaps a state/national/or global reach.

Whether you float between ideas for your whole life, making small sustainable steps along the way, anchor to one spot and work on building a small coral structure or inspire an entire beautiful reef of change every last part of the coral lifecycle is important.


If you happen to have one idea that spawns but goes nowhere (or perhaps only reaches the motile or floating phase of development) but have done some small actions based on this or shared your ideas with a friend don’t feel like you’ve failed. There’s a good chance that the idea wasn’t really in alignment with your Values or perhaps doesn’t suit your Sustainable Self balance at this stage (or both). The ideas you’ve spawned but haven’t taken through to fruition aren’t going to waste. In a reef, not all coral spawn or motile coral make it to anchor. Instead, they become part of the food and nutrient cycling chain, being ingested by fish or surrendered back to the oceans and shorelines. The ideas you’ve experimented with will be picked up on by another. Perhaps it’s someone you know, or you might even find that your decision to search for sustainability topics make them more visible (aided by algorithms and big data) to others.


So while very few of us will build the equivalent of a ‘sustainable living’ coral reef in our lifetime. Each and every action or idea we float, follow and perhaps anchor into contributes a collective sustainable future of grandiose proportions.


Have you seen our monthly magazine ‘Live Life in Sustainable Style’?

It’s the comprehensive monthly highlight of the suite of tools we have designed to help simplify sustainability so you can take action on the things you care about (minus the eco-overwhelm). The content ties together our ‘Take Action’ focus theme. In a fast-paced media-saturated landscape, we hope that this way of sharing will provide you access to all our useful tools, without feeling lost or overwhelmed. Each month the latest copy of the magazine and our most recent resources are sent to your inbox (you will only receive one email a month from us). You will get reminders via our social media channels of what content we’re championing throughout the month.

We hope that you enjoy getting your Sustainable Style fix in this easy-to-read format and that it gives you a break from the abundance of social media updates and overflowing inboxes we now navigate daily