Individuals like Christin inspire me to make a difference

Anyone ever feel that our global climate change issues feel so big and complex that real change only seems possible by securing international consensus and agreements among a select few “power persons”? I will admit that this thought does strike me – and my guess is – I’m not alone.

In an earlier blog I wrote the following “To succeed in building a sustainable and decarbonized society we need hope, enthusiasm, inspiration and strong will. We need to convince ourselves that the impossible is possible – irrespective of what the media is telling us. There are more “good stories” out there – and we should seek them out, share them and let them inspire us.”

I decided to find out what drives me to act as I do. What makes me get engaged? What gives me the confidence to voice an opinion? What triggers me into involving others? What really inspires me, and gives me a positive tingle?

The answer may not surprise anyone – but for me it was still a revelation.

Although impressive, important and critical for a sustainable development, what impresses me the most and makes me “run faster” is NOT a signed international climate treaty, nor an international corporation reducing its energy and carbon footprint. Neither is it a well-meaning NGO fighting for the Arctic. And it’s neither the UN’s IPCC, nor the EU’s ambitious 2020 targets.

What really make a difference with me are people – passionate individuals “on a mission”, capable of creating compelling stories. Somehow these individuals are able to rise above the everyday bustle, jobs, family and kids and “a pursuit of happiness”.

One of these individuals that have inspired me is Christin Oldebråten. I want to share her story with you, and hopefully inspire more to act. Not exactly like Christin, but in your own way.

Christin is 39 years old and Norwegian. She lives just outside the city of Oslo, with her husband Bjørn and her 5 year old daughter, Nila. She works as web editor in KLP – Norway’s largest life insurance company. On her spare time she spends much of her time outdoors – hiking or climbing mountains. So far – fairly normal.  But Christin grew up in Uganda – where her parents re-built primary schools after the Idi Amin/Obote war. They came to Uganda in 1987 and still live in the small village Mitandi high up in the beautiful Rwenzori Mountains– a UN World Heritage Site.

To make a long and fascinating story short enough for this blog, Christin is daring, bold, optimistic, charismatic, a strong believer, and never sees problems, only opportunities. Teaming up with her parents and the local people in Mitandi – Christin has engaged family, friends, colleagues, and others like me, to help develop the local municipality. Christin has focused on basic needs like education, healthcare and sustainable energy. A clinic has been build, school and supplies made available, birth control programs for women, school sponsor program for children as well as a “salary program” for medical personnel. Taking a first step out of poverty is strongly linked to education, healthcare and clean energy. This again is a pre-requisite for creating a sustainable future – in Mitandi and on a bigger scale.

Christin and her followers are changing Mitandi, for sure. But more importantly Christin is changing people’s minds. Anyone can contribute. We can all make a difference.



Feel free to read more, and be inspired: