From Europe to China and back: her story with Green Steps began in 2019, when she started contributing to build the Shanghai office. Now she is closer to her beloved mountains, but is still doing the same for our EU branch in Austria as project manager for the Hoopoe Summit, but most of all as beating heart of the team. Get to know our Gudi!
Behind Green Steps: Gudrun Bruckner
Green Steps Team is international and diverse. You can meet some of us during our events. Others maybe are working behind the scenes, or even in another continent, but we all play a part to succeed in our mission. This is possible thanks to individuals and their hearth, which is something that goes beyond their job description.
To make you all feel closer to our community, every month we post a short introduction to one of our Team Members, to celebrate the people behind Green Steps.
Our Team is young, and in a dynamic environment like Green Steps things change fast but we are proud to have with us a “veteran”, already. She was all over the place during the set up of our Shanghai office, and now she is not less crucial from her position in our EU branch. Gudrun Bruckner is a keeper!
How should we call you?
Some people prefer to call me Gudi instead of Gudrun – both are good for me. Usually, when I travel south from Austria, I tend to introduce myself as Gudi (pronounced like “good” + “i”), because Gudrun is harder to remember for people not familiar with the Germanic language family.
“Connecting you with nature” is not just a slogan at Green Steps. To pursue our mission we need all the people to grow their consciousness: nature is our common home. How has your job a role in achieving that?
I am the project coordinator for the Hoopoe Summit. It is an Erasmus+ International Youth Summit on the topic of environmental challenges and nature experience. In March 2021 we will gather young people from different countries to exchange, share experiences and learn from each other.
And how are you connected with nature on a daily basis?
I don’t have a daily routine, but I do have rituals that help me organize my time. Recently I started trying to wrap my activities around the weather and the daylight because that makes me more aware of what happens outdoors. Furthermore, I sometimes follow a routine a wise woman once introduced to me.
"go where you feel most alive"
I divide my day into 3 parts and consciously dedicate one part to a certain need, e.g. I spend the first part outdoors in nature, during the second part I am mentally productive and work, and in the third part I cover personal and social needs.
From Europe to China and back: this is what we know about the story between Gudi and Green Steps. How did you end up where you are?
My parents took me outdoors since I was very young. We usually spent Summer in a camping van and Winter in tiny mountain huts. I have been travelling a lot: that’s how I developed a strong connection with the outdoors and I used to believe that to be the average, but I was wrong. While my knowledge about nature was growing, I started to realize the lack of environmental awareness common people have. That’s why I developed the desire to take action against that.
After graduating, I went to China to widen my horizons and learn about a completely different environment and culture. I got the amazing opportunity to start an internship with Green Steps in October 2019, and since then it has become like a second family for me. My role evolved along with the team growth, but the overall mission has not changed: reforming education with the aim to foster empathy for the environment into the next generations.
Please, share a quote to help us better understand who you are.
“The only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing... but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night” from ‘On the road’ by Jack Kerouac.
I read this novel on my first interrail trip and these words are stuck in my mind since then. It triggered all my desires of setting off on an adventure, exploring the world in all its beauty, and learning from inspiring people.
Working with Green Steps means working for an ambitious, long term goal. How does that big picture coming together in your eyes?
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
Baba Dioum, a Senegalese poet and environmentalist, describes very well how and why I believe Green Steps will have a significant impact. The change in our behavior towards the planet starts by understanding the processes that maintain it. This change starts when we become aware of nature around us and start feeling responsible for it.
The best way to achieve this is through outdoor activities and adventures.
My hope is that Green Steps will soon access enough resources to be able and reach out to disadvantaged communities and areas which are especially threatened by the effects of climate change.
Shanghai Wetlands: an ecosystem to protect
Nature is not a museum to be admired from a distance. While we all can understand how crucial some areas are, we have to establish a connection in order to truly take care of those places, fully understand their value, and finally commit to preserving it. Dianshan Lake is the only natural lake in the Shanghai area, its health is crucial for over 25 million people, and for over 400 avian species, including endangered shorebirds.
BEHIND GREEN STEPS: ANNA RIGILLO
Find yourself travelling the World, find the World in a magical place in the middle of nothing. Is this enough to summarize the mind behind the ARK design? Definitely not! You still need to read more about service design, roller skating and, of course, a passion for nature and sustainability. Get to know Anna!
2021, Year of the OX: fun facts about oxen
Lunar New Year is widely celebrated by people all around the globe, especially in East Asia and Southeast Asia. In many cultures, it is the most important festival that denotes the beginning of a new calendar year. 2021 is the Year of the Ox, the second of the 12-year periodic sequence of animals. While welcoming the new year, why not learn some interesting stories not only about oxen, but also bulls, cows, and more?