New series: Spurred on by…

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I suspect the life I aspire to is not attainable. That is to say, it isn’t a destination; it’s the journey of a lifetime. Constantly trying to better understand my impact on the lives of others, on this planet we call home. Taking steps to make that impact more positive, loving and kind. Exploring the creativity I didn’t know dwelt within me – with words, with fabrics, with bookshelves, with… I don’t know what else – that’s the point. I don’t live in the expectation that one day I’ll have ‘arrived’. If we achieve ‘one planet living’ (when our impact is not greater than the planet can sustain), then there will always be opportunities to actively have a positive impact, not just minimising the negative. For every word written and shared, scrap of furniture upcycled and fabric sewn, there will remain the possibility of more.

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The Opposite of Loneliness

opposite of loneliness

So much has been written, more eloquently than I ever could, about Marina Keegan’s ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’. Keegan’s collection of essays and short stories was published posthumously, as this brilliant writer, actor, journalist died in an accident when she was just 22 years old. She had graduated from Yale just a few days earlier and was tipped for greatness. Much is rightly said of the tragedy of it all. Continue reading

A little book of craftivism

book_of_craftivismCraftivism: “a way of looking at life where voicing your opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper” – Betsy Greer.

I became aware of the Craftivist Collective over a year ago, but it wasn’t until last summer when I watched Sarah Corbett share her story that I began to understand the power of this kind of slow activism. Sarah talks about how as a worn out activist, she discovered the power of pairing her enjoyment of craft with her passion to see the world changed for the better. This change in her personal approach has grown into the Craftivist Collective, with people across the world taking part in craftivist projects, sometimes on their own, sometimes in groups, but always in solidarity with the movement. Continue reading

A foray into upcycling // fabric noticeboards

DSC_0353Last year our neighbours moved out and for reasons unknown left behind enough furniture, decorations and one particularly tragic looking teddy bear to fill the garden. As lots of perfectly good yet abandoned stuff was slowly ruined by the autumn weather, I salvaged a couple of cork noticeboards that were beginning to warp in the rain. I was tempted by a lovely set of brass fireplace tools despite currently lacking the necessary fireplace. I’m glad I resisted; I wouldn’t want them to become a symbol of thwarted ambitions if we ended up transporting them from home to home, never acquiring a fireplace. Besides, we are trying to avoid excessive consumption in the form of unused items (even if they’re second-hand). Continue reading

Spoken allowed

no_matter_the_wreckageIt was TED’s fault. A couple of years ago I was trawling online for some generic ‘inspiration’, when I stumbled across Sarah Kay’s TED talk, ‘If I should have a daughter’. It was a revelation to me. I had always loved reading and writing poetry, but I had never before experienced spoken word poetry. I was instantly taken with the idea of poetry that, as Sarah Kay puts it, “doesn’t just want to sit on paper; something about it demands it be heard out loud or witnessed in person”. Continue reading

25 years after the ‘Last chance to see’

Last chance to see

As a longtime devotee of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy I would’ve picked up Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine’s ‘Last Chance to See’ regardless of the subject matter. The fact that the book details their attempts to see some of the most endangered species of the 1980s just meant that I gained an extra level of enjoyment, beyond their hilarious retelling of jetlag, excessive aftershave purchases and empathy with chickens (I’m not sure fellow passengers on public transport were as blessed by my stifled laughter and shaking shoulders). Continue reading

A sustainability journey

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Photo credit: T Kendal

Why sustainability? Here’s a potted history of how I ended up working in sustainability and trying to navigate the pitfalls of sustainable living day to day.

I am a stereotype of my generation. David Attenborough played a significant role in my decision to work in sustainability. For me, it all began with the oceans and with the poles. Since the age of five I had been sailing with my family. Daily trips to a small Greek aquarium made a big impression, with particular affection felt for an octopus required to unscrew a jar to retrieve its shrimp dinner. A few years later, David Attenborough’s series ‘Life in the Freezer’ exploring life in the Antarctic came to our television screen. It was in one of the last episodes, a scene where a diver became the first to enter the water without a cage to film a leopard seal. Counter to its vicious reputation, the seal brought a penguin to the diver “like a cat brings a mouse to its owner”. I was hooked, declaring to my father that I wanted to work with fish when I grew up. Continue reading