A Lonely Hearts Column for the Anthropocene*

Sophia Cheng / 5 min read / Newbie Entrepreneur Life
21 February 2021
A call out for like-minded peers

Do you think in books?

I thought it was just me – but it turns out others do too.

On a random lockdown Sunday evening, when I was mulling over which b corp-approved company policy I might adopt first, as you do, I realised I felt lonely. Lonely but creative.

I tried to put in book form what I want to build with my business and thanks to Goodreads and Canva I birthed this image:

This is how I see the world. Or at least the world I want to build. Taking the key ideas from these texts and applying them mathematically to create the future I choose – one that is fair on people and planet. I wondered if anyone else felt the same.

So, I put it up on Twitter using the format of a lonely hearts ad and cheekily tagged some of the authors.

I was in luck, Rob Hopkins and Kate Raworth were online at the same time, both threw it out to their circles as a RT. They also shared a few of their thoughts:

And here’s what Kate had to say:

Twitter has its faults but sometimes, it’s magic. To have a direct exchange with a person you so admire is such a treat. Years ago it would have been Backstreet Boys, this time it’s a world-renowned economist. Yes I’ve changed and I think I’m ok with that.

And other Twitter accounts helped out too, Climate Action Lewisham said, “Seems like a brave lady. Can anyone help?” others finding the book-math very relatable, others suggesting other titles, one asking if GSOH included puns (always).

Within minutes I had people coming forward:

Craig from Scotland, Raechel in Cheltenham, Faith in Copenhagen, Gregorio from Colombia, Cinthya from Norway, Daniel from Mexico, Jean-Christophe from I’m not sure where. All were looking for a peer group.

Mentors came forward as well, Louise Kjellerup Roper, Paul Crick and Dr. Britt Way, who I’ve been following for a while, she works on the emotional side of the climate crisis and reached out:

Then Linda made a really generous offer:


She is hosting co-working for the future on Tuesdays on Clubhouse and Fridays on Zoom. I was blown away. And like a modern fairy godmother, Kate Raworth had something to say about that too:

This exchange totally made my month.

I am not alone. And help is out there. Yay.

(Aside: I also sold a spot on my Difficult Conversations course thanks to this tweet!)

But now for the hard part; articulating in more than 320 characters what I am proposing.

Long-form Lonely Hearts Ad

So for all those that interacted with me two weeks ago here is my framing (and if you’re reading this for the first time here’s the meat):

  1. You are pushing the frontier of a fairer world based on at least these principles:

Just learnt a new abbreviation, woe, via adrienne may brown via drake, you are Working On Excellence.

  1. Your primary path towards this right now is through business (i.e. you’re trying to make a living)
  2. You’re questioning what entrepreneurship looks like in a climate and ecological crisis (because bro-sales just won’t cut it)
  3. This is relatively new to you and is pushing you personally and professionally
  4. You’re looking for a supportive peer group, for exchange wins, fails, tears and giggles
  5. You’re looking for accountability and healthy constructive criticism
  6. The work is serious but you don’t take yourself too seriously

And last but not least

8. You are committed to showing up and actively shaping what gets created

(You can of course leave at any time it’s no longer working for you.)

What it is not

  1. A transactional space to only flog your wares
  2. A group that has all the answers
  3. Group therapy (although may skim around that depending on the topic!)
  4. A cult

Disclaimer: these principles are evolving!

If you’re still here…let’s do this!

I’m not sure what it will look like, maybe it’s a once a month Zoom check-in, or a Google list, maybe it’s just 3 of us in a whatsapp group, I don’t know and I’d sure love your ideas to throw in the mix. What do you need? What has worked really well in other groups you’re part of?

Based on early responses, quite a few people are in Europe and are available Thursday and Fridays, those stateside mentioned they could do afternoons. So here’s a Doodle to determine our first meet-up: https://doodle.com/poll/c6wvukc63c345ycd – calls will be in English.

And here’s a short survey so we can share it at our first meetup to help guide the call:

On hold for now as I’m running at max capacity

*Anthropocene. I love this word but it’s not familiar to everyone yet, including my spell check. So here’s the definition from National Geographic: “The Anthropocene Epoch is an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems.”
Here’s my favourite song about the Anthropocene:

Hope to ‘see’ you soon.

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Avatar photo Sophia Cheng With a decade of communications experience across the for profit and nonprofit sectors, agency and in-house, Sophia has made a habit of making ‘the hard stuff’ more accessible. Since 2018, she has reorientated her life around the climate crisis. She has forged her decade of communications experience into offering workshops, mentoring, blogging, and more, on the biggest issues of our time. View all posts
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