Posts in Activism
INFLUENCE: 7 LIFE-CHANGING THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

The idea of influence is intriguing to me. I’m on a bit of a quest at the minute to explore what it means in culture today; to break open the word and dig out all the flesh that we have put around it and try to find out what is at its core – the real juicy stuff.

And I’m getting somewhere. Somewhere surprising. And it’s exciting to lift the layers and see what’s underneath all the trappings of influence that we have created for ourselves. (sidenote: what we have created - not wonderful)

You see, for the majority of my career I have been involved in activism work. Working with charities, running charity projects, advocating, lobbying, creating movements for change. I’ve met people along the way that have shaped my idea of influence. I’ve witnessed a hunger for influence in the social justice sphere and been fascinated at how the power dynamics work when working for systemic change. I’ve seen what it takes for shifts to happen in the policy room or the campaign planning session; how influence is used – in healthy and unhealthy ways. Yes. The non-profit sector is not always healthy. Activism is not always healthy. Crazy, right?

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TIPS FOR SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS FAMILY TRAVEL

I recently embarked on my annual epic search of a holiday. I frenzied and trip-advised and searched every airline and website and travel guide until my eyes bled to find something that met all of our criteria (and by our I mean mine).

'Going away' as a family when I was a kid was either a day-trip to the seaside or a ferry to England to visit family. We didn't go anywhere outside of the UK until we emigrated to Canada in 1992. Talk about not doing things by halves: no holidays abroad, kids, but we will be moving across the world this year. Seems legit. 

In thinking about our plans this year I've been wondering what it really looks like to travel and see places in a more low impact way. I know that flying is far from sustainable with carbon emissions being a huge culprit in climate change (although some airlines are trying out new initiatives to offset) but I have started to consider other ways that we can be more thoughtful about the impact of our travels and bring my values along for the ride.

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ON BEING A GOOD INFLUENCE(R)

I remember as an older child having conversations with my mum about influence: what kind of influence was I on my friends? What kind of influence did they have on me? That kind of thing. Maybe she saw an early rebellious streak in me. Or maybe she knew that influence was powerful – that our actions, our movements, decisions have the weight and the power to impact others; a pretty big concept to hold onto as a child but has stood me in good stead (except for my teenage years where influence was waylaid, and I got into my fair share of teenage mischief). So the idea of influence has been a strong thread in my life and I attribute my deep sense of responsibility (holler to all my enneagram ones out there) to be a good influence to those early conversations.

And now that word seems to be pretty popular, ringing in my ears when I dive into the world of social media. Some people are using it as their job description, PR’s and Marketing Teams are including it as a significant part of their campaign plans and strategies and I’m interested in having a conversation about what it really means – what mantle we are giving this term of being ‘an influencer’…

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AVOIDING FAST FASHION IN A CONSUMER DRIVEN SEASON

There’s really no denying it…

It’s upon us. The countdown meter at the supermarket even told me today that it’s only 32 sleeps. We are either merrily entering, gently tiptoeing or begrudgingly dragging ourselves into the Christmas season.

I’m not quite there yet - but I feel it starting to pull. I may have even started thinking about what kind of garland will adorn the mantlepiece this year and where we’ll put the tree. I may have dived back into my Christmas pinterest board.

We all know that Christmas is the highest consumer season of the year. We throw cash around that we don’t have on things that we and other people don’t really need. We buy outfits for parties and novelty clothing that we’ll forget about next year. In fact, this article exposed that one in four Christmas jumpers bought last year will never be worn again. One in three under 35’s will buy a new Christmas jumper each year (stating that they don’t want to be seen in the same one again or that they buy new ones because they are so cheap). It’s estimated that £220 MILLION POUNDS are spent every year on novelty Christmas jumpers alone. Call me scrooge. I can take it.

About 6 weeks ago, Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary about fast fashion aired. It caused quite a stir and started some brilliant conversations on and offline. It did a great job of highlighting some of the major environmental catastrophes connected with the demand for fast, disposable fashion and people were rightly outraged and concerned with how our excessive consumption of clothes is effecting people and the planet.

I thought it might be a good time to circle back on some of those conversations - to remind ourselves about the impact that fast fashion has and how we can be agents of change as consumers, especially with party season approaching and the lure to buy new shiny things becoming a real draw.

If you are wanting to change your fast-fashion habits this season, this is for you.

If you want to pull the reigns in on your over-consumption and look at fashion as a long lasting investment, this is for you.

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THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER IF YOU WANT TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT ETHICAL FASHION

It's Fashion Revolution Week - five years on from the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh where over 1000 people lost their lives because of health and safety negligence when a garment factory collapsed. 

I'm so glad to see ethical fashion become a more mainstream conversation every year and I'm so grateful for trailblazers in the fashion, labour and environmental industries that are demanding change, creating change and expecting change. I am a proud ethical fashion advocate - it's something that I've worked hard to understand and be intentional about. Slowly, over the last 6 years, my fashion habits have changed and I feel connected to and part of this movement.

There are so many amazing articles and books that are available for those just starting out on the journey that are hungry for more information to change their mindset and habits (my personal recommendation would be to read any of Safia Minneys books - Slave to Fashion or Slow Fashion are my two favourites) but here are some issues I think we need to dig deeper into if we want to get serious about ethical fashion:

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5 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE MORE ETHICAL IN 2018

Now is an amazing time to make some green changes to your everyday. The slog of January is over and the motivation of the new year is beginning to hum in the background…

Maybe you’ve felt drawn to be a little more earth conscious and you want to begin somewhere attainable. Maybe you have realised that we are both the problem and the solution to so many major environmental and ethical crises in the world today. What you need to know is that being green, eco, ethical or sustainable doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s merely a slight readjustment of priorities that we can all have a go at.

I’m talking small steps that really make a difference. That’s what this blog is all about – showcasing simpler ways to be more thoughtful in how we live; understanding that modern life and being ethical don’t have to be conflicting or difficult to marry up. There are ways and means to begin our eco journey without feeling overwhelmed – here’s my starter for five for 2018:

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