April 2016: Spurred on by tree stumps and mean tweets


Reflecting on the past month shows me that April has been about considering perspectives. This round up is a little late as we spent the Bank Holiday weekend back in Northern Ireland, in the area where I grew up. Returning there is always refreshing, reminding me it can remain a home, even when I’ve built another here.

The men in this video begin to understand another perspective when they read aloud abusive tweets to the very women that were the intended targets of these hateful words. The men didn’t write the tweets, but reading them aloud brings home to them just how abusive and cruel these words are. It makes for brutal but powerful watching and provokes in me a desire to be watchful of my words and their untold impact on others (this one comes with a disclaimer: there are (sadly and unsurprisingly) obscenities, but they are bleeped out).

Perspectives were compared when four men with very different incomes opened up about the sorts of lives they could afford in the US today. Despite their varying circumstances, from earning $1million a year to being on the poverty line, all four men felt they needed more money to have the life they want. There also wasn’t much to differentiate their identified happiness levels. A helpful reminder that numbers in our bank account may never be as much as we want, but that doesn’t need to be reflected in our contentment day to day.

The fine art photographer Joe Foreman uses his art to help us gain perspective on our impact on the earth. He says of this series, “I hope that viewers come away with a sense of unresolved—and perhaps unresolvable—tensions. For instance, the tension between dark seductive beauty and outright devastation” . The images are haunting (in a good way).

My education is in science; my pursuit is engaging people with sustainable living. Science and journalism are intersecting via a new platform developed to enable climate scientists to ‘grade’ articles on their climate science. I believe everyone has a right to a perspective on climate change, but I think we need to carefully consider which opinions we are using to inform our own. Climate Feedback provides an evidence-based mechanism to help us do this. I think that’s a good thing.

To end on a cheerful (no really) note, apparently to be happier we need to start contemplating our own deaths a bit more. Aside from the fact that I’m not bought into the idea that happiness is our ultimate pursuit, something in me does enjoy the idea that morbid people write funnier cartoon captions.

This is part of a monthly series on the things that spur me on to keep going with intentional living. What has spurred you on recently?

Today’s soundtrack: Gabrielle Aplin // English Rain

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