Sustainable Voices: Yrja Oftedahl

January 18, 2019


Welcome to our Sustainable Voices series, where we talk to inspirational climate leaders around the world about their passions and projects.

Who, What, Where?

I’m Yrja Oftedahl, from Stavanger, Norway. I host a podcast called “Power Ladies” where I interview women who stand out in their field of expertise. The aim is to inspire other women to go after what they want in life by listening and gaining knowledge through their stories and their tips and tricks. From this podcast my brand has constantly been growing to become much more of a universe with social media channels, speaking gigs, live podcasts and I am currently developing it further. I am super engaged in creating a more sustainable world by inspiring others to take care of themselves first. I believe if you take care of yourself you’ll automatically be able to take care of others as well!

What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?

I have always been conscious when it comes to sustainability. I never wanted to buy anything new as a kid and this habit continued when I moved out on my own. I only buy stuff when I have to replace what is already broken. I also became a vegan as a teen. In a way, it has always been my mindset so an aha moment is difficult to recall. But for the past 10 years I have been very annoyed by people who don’t share the same mindset as me because the damage we are doing to the Earth and our society has been so visible.

What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?

Start with one small thing. And when you have implemented that new habit, continue to the next step. Many people don’t even start because there are too many things to improve on, so it’s overwhelming and paralyses them from taking action. Start with meat-free Mondays, or just try to shop one less piece of clothing etc. and then start upping your game.

What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?

The destroyers. Lol. I like to think hopefully the generation who both created a crisis but also found solutions in a short period of time. So basically destroyers and saviours.

What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?

Find a way to solve carbon capturing at scale and perhaps find a way to store information in the “cloud” with less carbon emissions. Or figure out a way to get people to send one less email each day or watch one less episode on Netflix, as that’s one of the hidden carbon emissions people don’t think about. “According to British company Ovo, which says it is working towards a zero-emission society, the UK sends as many as 64 million unnecessary emails daily. If every British adult sent only one fewer "Great, thank you!" Email every day, Ovo writes, emissions would have dropped by 16,433 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.”

What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?

Money, hard work and dedication to find the technology to solve carbon capture and storing of information in the “cloud”. Politicians needs to educate themselves, take this seriously and think long-term, putting money into it and solving the climate change issues in general.

What is your company’s most impactful contribution to fight climate change?

Spreading knowledge 1-1.

In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?

In my industry which is communication to the masses, I really hope that magazines, celebrities and newspapers will take responsibility and impact people, educating them to live more sustainably and force companies to do so too.

Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?

I’d like to be able to say the multi-billion dollar companies but no, I’ll choose some pioneers in Norway such as Chooose, Fjong and Too good to Go, who are going in the forefront and paving the way for change. Also Katapult and Antler who scale companies with a focus on sustainability.

What makes you climate positive about the future?

All the people driving change. The more celebrities that jump on this wagon to spread the movement, the better. Some companies now require other companies to value sustainability if they are going to collaborate.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just please join the movement!