Positive Feedback — Positive Projects
31 Jan 2008
Positive News readers share their stories, comments and ideas for a positive 2008.
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Be The Change
Trenna Cormack writes about the inspiration behind her book that grew out of the Be The Change Conference.
I went to the Be The Change conference in London for the first time inMay 2005. It was a revelation. Never before had I heard so muchcutting-edge information from leaders, pioneers and mavericks who werebringing transformation in their areas of work. Speakers ranged fromthe world-renowned to the unknown. As well as addressing the pressingissues facing our world, we were presented with solutions. Equallyheartening was the experience of being amongst an audience of hundredsof people who truly cared, and who were all in their way working forpositive change. The sense of kinship was tangible, and together wefelt nourished, inspired and empowered.
With gatheringexcitement, I thought to myself, This is brilliant! There should be abook about this!’ Then one of the facilitators said to us, This isn’tjust about sages on stages. What are you going to do to be the change?What’s yours to do?’ That’s when I gulped and realised that the bookwas mine to do. It would be a way of bringing these messages and thiskind of experience to a wider audience, as well as providing ongoingsustenance and inspiration to the existing community.
I wantedto tell some wonderful, first-hand stories of action for positivechange, and set about interviewing activists, campaigners and socialentrepreneurs so I could get them straight from the horse’s mouth.These include people working on all scales, from local to global, andin different fields, such as education, human rights, health, peace andthe environment. Established leaders such as Satish Kumar, WangariMaathai, Clive Stafford Smith, Jonathon Porritt and Vandana Shiva sharepages with younger grassroots activists like Morsbags campaigner ClaireMorsman and guerrilla gardener Richard Reynolds.
Creating thebook has shown me what I can do when I set my mind to it, and I’velearned what remarkable things others can do too. I hope theirwonderful stories are equally inspiring and uplifting for readers. Abrighter future is on its way.
For more information contact:
35 King Street
To be reviewed in the next edition of Positive Living
Kevin Desmond talks about the genesis of his new book, Planet Savers 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists.
“I suppose the seeds were there fairly early on. My childhood library included Joy Adamson’s books about Elsa the lion. Then at boarding school, we were shown a film called Serengeti Shall Not Die — that was the early 1960’s. We also watched black and white television programmes with Armand and Mikaela Dennis showing you about wildlife.
This is my 22nd published book. I started with petrol-head, gas-guzzling biographies of motorsport heroes on land, air and water. But somewhere along the way, around the early 1980’s I began to get involved with battery-powered, non-polluting electric boats on the Upper Thames. And as they were silent and did not frighten wildlife, I began to see birds at close quarters. Then came the BBC TV series, Doomwatch and feature films such as Erin Brockovitch and Gorillas in the Mist (Dian Fossey).
But the bud really started to emerge from the plant while I was doing a book called “the least likely” about 173 of the more famous Christians all of whom, at the outset felt themselves the least likely to do God’s work. At the time, I was looking for a least likely Christian who transformed into an environmentalist. No such luck, but it did intrigue me that there didn’t appear to be any books available where you could read about people who, throughout history, had published their respect and demonstrated their care for our planet. If you like, our planet-saving heritage.
Another key element is my being a subscriber for over 10 years, to Positive News. Inspired by this rare, heart-warming newspaper, I somehow wanted to show people that news about our planet was not all doom and gloom and that people from all walks of life, were and still are making positive progress in caring for our threatened biosphere.
So it was that, without a publisher’s contract, I plunged into researching the lives of those I eventually came to call “Planet Savers” (although “Eco Heroes” was another option). And the more I looked, the more I found and the further back into history it went and the wider around the world. Throughout this, I was encouraged and helped by Sir Ghillean Prance, former Director of Kew Gardens, Scientific Director of the Eden Project and a fierce defender of the Amazon rain forests. Eventually, having arrived at 420 odd biographies, I started looking around for a publisher.
At first it was not easy. Some said that although they published books about the environment and ecology, they did not do biographies. And those publishers specialised in biographical dictionaries did not do environmental compendiums. In the end, a Sheffield-based publisher called Greenleaf indicated that they would like to work with me, on condition we could find someone to underwrite the marketing phase. That somebody turned out to be a very wealthy naturalist friend of Sir Ghillean Prance but who wishes remain anonymous.
After considerable and painstaking editing, the result is Planet Savers. 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists.
Obviously it was impossible to include everyone and even my 420 biographies had to be edited down! If readers want to know more about each Planet Saver, we have provided them with a weblink and a book title. I believe this is a book which should be in every library, college and school. It seems strange that there are endless history books about leaders who set about destroying our Planet but, until now, none about those who have been trying to save it. I hope my book will not be the last.
The French 19th Century entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre once wrote:
“History celebrates the battlefields whereon we meet our death, but scorns to speak of the ploughed fields whereby we thrive; it knows the names of king’s bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat. That is the way of human folly.”
To be reviewed in the next edition of Positive Living
Living In France
Pete Shield is the editor of www.naturalchoices.co.uk. He lives in Montrouch, France.
The reason we are installing solar power is half good intentions and half necessity– we live on an old farm that is two miles up a dirt road– so the solar power is the only way we can get power! We are still in the process of renovating the farm, and hopefully this spring, planting the first 500 or so lavender plants, and around 100 olives to start on the road of becoming an organic lavender and olive oil producer. Over in Provence there is lavender everywhere but here in the Languedoc it can only be seen in gardens. Well hopefully we can start a two person tidal wave to get rid of the chemical deserts that are the vineyards and start more chemical-free approaches.
Naturalchoices is aiming to be a news site on all things eco and ethical with a slant towards an eco-socialist perspective– that is not just another ethical consumption site but a bit more political and less product-orientated. Whether it gets there or not we will see. We already have 30,000 unique visitors a month which I am quite pleased with but time is a precious commodity, much in demand with all the projects we have on at the moment and the site traffic really suffers if I don’t give it at least
100 hours a week of tender loving care.
.. and that is a problem, from my office window I can see the snow on the Pyrenees and I feel the skis in the basement calling.’
Editor– Natural Choices
Gerald Goes Green
Gerald Napper explains how he is making changes to his everyday living to help protect the planet.
I.ve put my money where my mouth is in respect of climate change. Our home at Crossways in Dorset has been fitted with photovoltaic solar panels which should generate 3400kWh of electricity each year and thus provide most of our electrical power needs fron a sustainable source: the sun. I have long been an advocate of sustainable living and am a founder member of Dorset’s Agenda 21 group. I own and drive a ‘Prius T3’ hybred car, recycle garden greens, cans, bottles,paper, etc. and use energy-saving lamps throughout the house. I’ve purchased a Carbon Dioxide Allowance Certificate which offsets 2.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year and consider I am living with a ‘Carbon Neutral Footprint’. In retirement my wife and I want to live in a way that will ensure a better world and future for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.For the technically minded, our installation consists of an array of 18 Sanyo 210 watt units, covering an area of 23 square metres and producing DC which is converted to 240 volts AC via a Fronius inverter. Peak power output is 3.7 kWp with an estimated annual energy yield of 3402kWh. The installation is grid connected so any surplus is sold to the electricity supplier.
Gerald Napper (subscriber)
Free Range B&B
Sally Birtwell writes abouts her Free-Range B&B in Holycombe.
Just to thank you for the article about Holycombe in Positive Living — we’ve had people ringing up from far and wide who wanted to come and stay.
You asked about and projects and plans we have and I just wanted to tell you about our Free-Range B&B. Because I am running the centre on my own, we have always asked people coming on weekend courses to bring their own bed linen and towels, and breakfast. This has suited people very well because every other person is non-wheat or non-dairy and so they don’t want the traditional English breakfast anyway. They have been delighted because our ratesare much cheaper than many B&Bs. I think a lot of people would liketo stay in B&Bs under these conditions and pay less so we are goingto experiment and see if there is any interest.
Anyway we are full every weekend now for the whole year, but we canhave people to stay in the weekdays, Monday to Thursdays, especiallywalkers and people wanting to enjoy the stunning countryside. They can join in with our weekday classes when there is room (there usually is). We are calling it Free-Range B&B. In the summer we are offering Tipi camping. We have a hot shower and flush loos onour homegrown campsite which is very beautiful and by the Norman moat.
Love and light
Contact Sally for rates
Holycombe, Whichford, Shipston-on –Stour, Warwickshire
Tel: 01608 684 239
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