Terra Verde

Tackling Overwork and Inequity at Environmental NGOs

Burnout has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. As the pandemic drags on, many people continue to face evolving workplaces,  navigate uncertainty around childcare and school schedules, and confront difficult choices about acceptable risk in practically everything they do. It’s no wonder that so many are feeling stressed and exhausted.

Those working in the environmental sector face yet another source of stress: a deep sense of urgency around the climate crisis, and the knowledge that we’re simply not doing enough to address it. For many, this sense of urgency can lead to long hours of tireless work on behalf of the planet.

Even before the pandemic began, Greenpeace Canada was rethinking the culture of overwork, and the ramifications it has for employee health and wellbeing, as well as for equity in the workplace. So in 2020, they piloted a 4-day work week — and it stuck.

Greenpeace Canada Executive Director Christy Ferguson joins Terra Verde host and Earth Island Journal Managing Editor Zoe Loftus-Farren to discuss workplace expectations in purpose-driven organizations, the added workplace challenges faced by women and people of color, and how changing the way we balance life and work can make a big difference both personally and organizationally.