A little positivity is something we could all use right now, so we thought we’d interview someone who has made it spreading it a full time commitment. Kate Williams is the CEO of 1% for the Planet, an international organization that aims to help fund a diverse body of environmental nonprofits taking initiative all around the world. Tackling meaningful issues is but only half of what Williams brings to the table–forging and fostering an international community is another major facet of her work. In a time when it is increasingly easy to feel disconnected not only from one another, but from the world at large, Williams serves as a brilliant reminder of the beauty that can ensue when individuals come together and work towards a common goal. As a member of the 1% community ourselves, we felt it only fitting to sit down with Williams to discuss everything from connectivity to how to make our time indoors more eco-conscious. Read below.
If you were a plant, what plant would you be and why?
A purple coneflower. They are beautiful, hardy, healthful, and attract pollinators.
What is your favorite place on the planet?
The wooded hillside behind our house. Whenever I go up there—early morning, late afternoon, winter, or summer—I get a view of the mountains across our valley, of our snug homestead, of our woodpile. I feel connected to both the beautiful planet and my home place.
When life gives you lemons, you…
I’m such a lemonade or silver lining person. When I look back at my life, every “challenge” proved actually to be an incredible opportunity either for me to grow as a person, or for real change to get catalyzed. Increasingly, I’m able to step into new challenges with this perspective. I take things seriously, to be sure, but I feel like I get centered, clear, and focused in the face of challenge and able to start looking for the opportunity at the outset.
What’s an environmental issue are you passionate about at the moment?
I feel passionate about water. It’s the connector of all things, and the health of our waters is often a way that we are able to have a more tangible experience of larger issues such as climate change. Also, water as an environmental issue is also a social issue; impacts on the quality and accessibility of water are experienced by every living thing on the planet. Lastly, water is so healing. Staying connected to water supports us, even as our experience of it may be where we see negative environmental impacts.
Your most recent oHHo moment? (When you felt most calm, in the zone, happy, etc..)
I decided to get a puppy when we found out that we’d be working from home for a while. She ensures that I wake up very early—a couple of days ago we rambled up on the hillside behind my house as the sun was rising. Spending time with a puppy is a great way to be totally present and aware—every little leaf was interesting and a new adventure. At one point, we sat on this little flat area above the stream. Looking out over the valley, I had this deep, calm feeling of being connected to an earth that is still spinning toward the sun, even as we work through the current pandemic.
Two creative pro tips on how to make our time indoors more environmentally conscious?
1) Cook with whole, real ingredients (beans, veggies, flour, etc.) as much as possible so you can have moments of remembering and honoring that what you eat comes from somewhere.
2) Fix something. The simple act of making something work is a commitment to using less and stewarding what you have. This is a reminder to live lightly and creatively (and its a super satisfying feeling).
Your favorite part of building the 1% community?
Every single relationship. I love our community, and our community is made of a beautiful web relationships. My favorite thing is anytime I get to build or steward a relationship.
What is your daily wellness ritual and/or daily wellness mantra?
For me it’s all about starting my day with time for both mind and body. Basically, I meditate and exercise almost every morning (and now walk the puppy as well!). So, for me it’s more ritual than a mantra, and it serves to keep me grounded and confident in my own health and centeredness.
One memory that instantly makes you smile?
Well, one unexpected result of this pandemic is that both of my children (who are 18 and 20) are home from school, and both with their wonderful significant others. So we suddenly have this delightfully full house, just as we were contemplating empty nest mode. Makes me smile to think of sitting around our dinner table last night sharing a meal. Lemonade!
Who or what inspired your passion to help the planet?
I’d have to say my Mom. She was not an environmentalist per se, but she was totally attuned to the beauty of the natural world, and welcomed me into that with a sense of appreciation and joy at the beauty of a single flower, an amazing sunset, a meal from the garden…