Sue Willis finds support in a community approach
Blue Planet II came and went. “I can’t watch it. We’re destroying the world…” War on Plastic. “OK, I’ll watch that. It’s just about reducing single-use plastic…” Actually, that was the tipping point from individual to community action. I thought I had done as much as I could: I was refilling my jars in the zero-waste shop… But watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall report on the horrific plastic dumps in Malaysia, I knew I had to do more. I also had to address how depressed I was feeling. “The only way is to take action,” a little voice in my head whispered.
With very little forethought – unusual for an over-thinker – I put up a post on my local community’s Facebook page asking if other people wanted to meet to share ideas on reducing single-use plastic. There was a really big response. I panicked. Could I follow through? When I shared my concerns at the local health food shop, the owner kindly offered a venue. A friend contacted me: she had a friend who had set up a similar group, Wimborne War on Waste, and would I like to Skype her? This was really helpful – it was also somewhat overwhelming, as they had achieved so much. She kindly reminded me they had started small too.
I thought maybe a handful of people would show up to our meeting, but there were 18 of us crammed into that small shop! We shared our hopes of getting together, and as they seemed broadly similar we decided to meet again. I went home with a smile on my face!
Maybe I am tinkering around the edges. It is certainly not the ambitious approach of Extinction Rebellion, but every little thing we do causes a ripple. People engage in different ways; anything that gets the conversation started has to be positive. On a personal level, I could go further without hardship than I expected.
It is very early days, but one of the main things is that I no longer feel so depressed: there is now a small but growing community of us who care.
- Having a mentor is really helpful and saves reinventing the wheel.
- Although I resisted it, creating a Facebook page makes it easy to communicate and avoids concerns about data protection – there is also a closed group.
- Share successes; this encourages further action.
- Ask other people for help.
Sue Willis shares her life with husband Alan, Faith, aged 14, and Joseph, aged 16. She spends any spare time trying to live as greenly as possible, delivering a women’s wellbeing course on a voluntary basis at the local Recovery College, and relaxing. She would be interested to hear from anyone who wants to set up a group to reduce single-use plastic. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published in JUNO Autumn, Issue 63. Follow the link for more information: https://shop.junopublishing.co.uk/product/single-issues/issue-63/