Meet Jo Lorenz, sustainability ambassador, writer, podcaster, mum, activist, and basically an all-around superwoman who is using her voice and platform to push for climate action, social justice and sustainability.
If you already follow Jo (see how below), no doubt you’re as smitten as we are with her firm opinion, clever wit and sharp words. Here we meet the woman herself.
On your podcast and on your website, you talk a lot about ‘justice’ - can you please explain what justice means to you?
The reality is that all our justice movements are intrinsically linked - climate change, feminism, protecting Black and Indigenous lives, sustainable fashion, the LGBTQIA+ movement - these are all intersectional and inherently connected, and thus if you are viewing these movements in isolation, then you are not viewing justice in its entirety.
Justice is all about protecting people and planet - about fighting for equality, humanitarianism and our environment through an intersectional lens. For example, the reality of Black Lives Matter - and all racial justice movements - is and has always been about protecting marginalised people. It is NOT about performative allyship and about talking about racism when it’s fashionable. But it IS about consistently calling out racial discrimination and unlearning your own inherent racism. It IS about white folks de-centring themselves from life’s centre-stage and amplifying the voices of black and indigenous folks. BLM is about intersectional justice.
The reality of climate justice is and has always been about protecting marginalised people. It is NOT about protecting the holiday houses of rich folks in Florida. But it IS about radically developing lower-carbon lifestyles in a sustainable society, in order to be ready to help environmental migrants and future climate refugees. It IS about protecting the vulnerable nations who are already feeling the damning effects of climate change - nations primarily made up of non-white folks. And it IS about listening to indigenous wisdom and respecting the custodians of our planet. Climate justice is about intersectional justice.
The reality of sustainable fashion justice is and has always been about protecting marginalised people. It is NOT wholly and solely about transparency reports. It is NOT simply about organic cotton. But it IS about diversity, inclusivity and protecting the lives of those being exploited within fashion supply chains - most of whom are black and brown people. It IS about creating circular fashion cycles that sustain people’s livelihoods, entire communities and, in turn, our planet. Sustainable fashion is about intersectional justice.
We agree that fighting for sustainable fashion is crucial for people and planet - which is why our entire business model is built upon circular fashion. Can you talk a little about the circular economy, unconscious consumerism and how both these areas are linked to climate change?
Consumerism itself is not the devil - yet the way we choose to consume is. Since the first industrial revolution, we humans have been extracting, modifying, manufacturing, manipulating, and then simply discarding resources - aka, the linear economy - to seemingly no end. In fact, according to a report produced by Circle Economy, only 9 percent of the world today is circular, leaving a ginormous ‘circularity gap’ - in other words, approximately 91 percent of the 92.8 BILLION TONNES of minerals, metals, biomass and fossil fuels that enter the economy each year are NOT re-used.
It is the continual use of the Western linear approach to economics - i.e. overt consumerism/linear economy - that has resulted in the dislocation of our climate. Climate change is responsible for unparalleled disruption to where people can live, work, grow food, build cities, and rely on functioning infrastructure. In many parts of the world, temperature changes and sea-level rise is already putting livelihoods and infrastructure under extreme strain and vastly affecting human well-being.
The climate emergency is the most ubiquitous thriller of our time - and western consumerism is auditioning for the lead role. Yet by transitioning to a circular economy, we WILL prevent further environmental degradation and social inequality. While a circular economy is mainly implemented via governments, businesses and social entrepreneurs, we all have a role to play. The businesses we support and the choices we make all cast a vote for the future we want.
Increasingly, there are more and more innovative companies crafting their entire business around feeding back into a circular economy and closing the loop - such as The R Collective. Adopting a circular economy approach enables organisations to move towards business models that allow goods to be designed and produced for extended use, disassembly, reuse and recycling, from the initial planning and design stage.
A circular economy has the proven ability to bolster societal needs; fosters entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration; empowers humanity with action-oriented agendas, collectively uniting whole countries, communities, and even individuals. So what’s the hold up, folks? Within our own means, let’s ALL strive to dump our linear consumption and push for people and planet.
As well as engaging with circular businesses, how can people use their voices to benefit people and planet?
We all have different ways we respond to situations and different levels of ability and/or comfort within joining these justice movements - which is why I encourage you all to find your own comfort zone for activism, in order to push the discomfort of justice.
Like protesting is great - yet not possible for everyone. So find your comfort to push your discomfort. Instead, could you lobby with emails? And then of course, lobbying with emails is brilliant - yet also not for everybody. So find your comfort to push your discomfort. Could you instead share some digital content?
The point is: you don’t have to be a full-blown activist to get involved. You don’t have to write lengthy essays about the injustices you see. You don’t have to feel guilty if you can’t do this in the same way that you see other folks do it.
You just have to ask yourself whether you're willing to commit to doing something - whether you're willing to push your discomfort. And then, my friends, once you’ve found that sweet spot: push the f*ck out of it!
Learn more about Jo’s work on her modern lifestyle website, Conscious Citizen Co which focuses on climate change, intersectionality, politics, social justice, sustainable beauty and sustainable fashion.
Together with her husband, Jo is also the Co-Founder of 24 Hours For Change, a grassroots social justice movement for climate action and equality, where the pair use their expertise to amplify the campaigns of NGOs and social justice causes - including campaigns with Sierra Club and Lonely Whale.