I’ve a few post-graduate levels, my second ebook is about to be revealed and…I can’t inform the time on a watch.
Nor can I inform my proper from left, and couldn’t spell my very own identify till I used to be 12 years previous. Which was across the identical age I grew to become obsessed with social justice and environmental points. My work since signifies that I’ve been fortunate sufficient to get to know a number of great folks within the sustainability, justice and ESG fields.
As a identified dyslexic myself, I started to suspect I wasn’t the one neurodiverse individual working in change-making. So, late final yr, I requested fellow sustainability people on LinkedIn a query that had been buzzing round my thoughts for some time:
Almost 250 folks responded, and to my shock, nicely over half – 57% – mentioned they’re neurodiverse, both identified or not. Excess of the one in seven that’s reportedly typical of society at massive
Sustainability and neurodiversity, it appears, go hand in hand.
Maybe, the over-representation of atypical psychological states in sustainability fields shouldn’t be that stunning. It’s been nicely documented that neurodiverse folks -particularly these with ADHD and/or autism – are related to a robust sense of justice and equity. The world’s most influential local weather campaigner, Greta Thunberg, is autistic. World-changing figures like Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, and Mom Teresa are all thought to have been dyslexic.
Even the World Financial Discussion board have explored the subject, quoting not too long ago revealed scientific theories that people have truly advanced to concentrate on completely different however complementary methods of processing info. Individuals with dyslexia, scientists counsel, are specialised in exploring the unknown. That is the consequence of getting ancestors that skilled main environmental instability. The flexibility to adapt grew to become paramount. And what group of human beings is extra adaptable than one that features a vary of various considering kinds, working interdependently to unravel issues collectively?
If neurodiverse folks advanced in response to environmental disaster, might we assist resolve our present one?
Understanding of neurodiversity has grown lately, and with it public consciousness and help. There’s nonetheless a protracted option to go, however we’re collectively starting to recognise that the objective must be about way more than inclusion. Neurodiverse methods of considering might carry new angles and various approaches that can assist us navigate the world’s most urgent challenges.
So with that in thoughts – what does it take to suppose, and resolve international challenges, like a dyslexic?
1. Assume you’re flawed
Neurodiverse folks have grown up in a world that measures success by a restricted set of metrics, which implies we all know ‘failure’ nicely. We’re aware of what it feels prefer to make a mistake. When working in sustainability and justice, there’s lots to be mentioned for assuming that you just’re flawed. Being conscious of the way you may need misinterpreted somebody or one thing could make your judgements much more thought of – and make you a lot much less prone to misread one thing within the first place.
2. Query the whole lot
Neurodiverse folks typically don’t robotically ‘get’ social guidelines. As a substitute of realizing and accepting a sure social ‘norm’ or piece of etiquette, we’d ask – why? An ideal query to ask of, nicely, most issues about our world. In 2023 we have to change our programs sooner and additional. Simply because most individuals have all the time finished one thing a method, doesn’t imply it’s one of the simplest ways.
3. Be itched by injustice
Unfairness and exclusion don’t make logical sense. Neurodiverse individuals are typically extremely logical and systematic of their considering – and prejudices don’t make logical sense. This doesn’t imply neurodiverse individuals are freed from prejudice, nevertheless it does imply we’re fast to identify injustices on the earth and are passionate to handle them. Everybody might do with a greater nostril for unfairness.
4. Discover one other manner
The straightforward, straight path from A to B is usually unavailable to neurodiverse folks. I for one didn’t be taught my ABCs till I studied the historical past of the alphabet throughout a level in Classics. The winding, off street path is usually the one possibility for dyslexics – and down it, there are discoveries and artistic options you in any other case wouldn’t stumble throughout. So, think about probably the most simple path isn’t open to you. The place are you able to go as an alternative?
5. Strive something
Being neurodiverse could make issues often thought of ‘simple’, very onerous. Being pushed to do onerous issues rapidly taught us neurodiverse people that it’s attainable to maintain leaping off cliffs and hoping we’ll fly. Sure, it’s terrifying. However fixing issues that matter will take simply this type of braveness and boldness.
Neurodiverse folks like me spend a lifetime studying the way to match right into a neurotypical world. However maybe neurotypicals – the remaining 43% of the sustainability neighborhood that responded to my ballot – might be taught a factor or two from us about the way to do issues in another way. Considering like a dyslexic, even if you happen to aren’t one, opens up new methods to construct a fairer and greener world.