Sustainability Activist, Influencer or Observer? What are you?

Sustainability Activist, Influencer or Observer? What are you?

What kind of Sustainability person are you? The question I wanted to pose to you today is whether you believe you are an Activist, Influencer or Observer when you are looking to promote Sustainability? ( I am assuming that you care about our planet, responsible business practice i.e. Sustainability because you are reading this).

I feel that this differentiation is very important in the context of Sustainability and making a difference in this world to change it for the better. Each of these three categories imply positives and negatives in my opinion and I have outlined what I mean with each of these categories below:

Activists are people that are especially active, vigorous advocates of a sustainability cause. They do what they say in a way that is not always acceptable for the general public.  They shock or break the laws in order to get attention for the cause they are support. This can be positive or negative depending of the persons viewpoint. Activism is very controversial and highly sensible. Do not get me wrong. We need activists but they have a certain extremism which many people can not relate to easily. Examples obviously include the Green NGO’s such as Greenpeace, etc in this world.

Influencer’s are people that are a compelling force on their specific topic areas. Their actions, opinions and standpoints effect our behavior directly in the way that we have a close bonding to this person right away or after a short period of time. This is the clear difference to the the activist. Influencer are moderate and measured. I make us change behavior. For a classic example of an influencer in the Sustainability is Al Gore. He did not settle for a fancy post in an organization somewhere after we lost against Bush but traveled the world to promote his message of saving the planet and to raise awareness about Climate Change. His presentations about the progress of climate change stick in your head and you are able to take away the aspects that help you change your behavior. A true influencer.

Is someone that observes from a distance and does not really get involved and does not participate. We are all observers when we get to know a topic. But once we know about it we have a choice. Either to dive deeper into the information or to move on. I have once read (sorry no source) that 97% of the population are observers.

Question: Who are you? How do you see yourself?
I am definitely a influencer. Or at least this is what I am trying to be. But this is not about me but the message of this post is that we need more influencers in this world. We have enough activists and just to many observers. Influencers are the ones that really have the largest leverage to make change happen in this situation we are in globally.

So if you think you are an observer then please take a moment to reflect and visualize where your passion is with regards to Sustainability. Once you have figured that out then it will be a lot easier to be become an influencer. Passion empowers you to move forward and this is what an influencer and the activist need to do. They do not stand still but move forward and change it. Observing doesn’t get us anywhere so please join me to be an influencer and help us secure our future.


Fabian Pattberg is a sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and social media professional with many years experience in the sustainability and social media field. Fabian maintains and writes for his blog