In order to effect change, it seems we need 5 crucial steps: Be willing to See and acknowledge the issue we need to change; Decide you are in fact going to Do something about it; Connect with others to gain support, new ideas and collective clout; Find ways to Sustain your own energies to ensure you don't burn out; and use your experience and energy to Inspire others to take action so we make the change become exponential. On that basis:
What issue do you see or come across that awakens the creative disruptor in you, and why does it matter to you the way it does?
"I have been aware of the issue of single use plastics for some time whilst doing local beach cleans but watching the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ last March made me realise the scale of the problem that I had helped create. It matters because I have children and grandchildren and it bothers me that the legacy I am potentially leaving to them is polluted Oceans devoid of marine life."
2 What action are you actually taking to tackle this, and how do you feel about what you do?
"I have started a campaign entitled Final Straw Cornwall with the aim of encouraging individuals to refuse plastic straws when offered and businesses to sign up to not provide any other straws than paper ones. Using this as entry level on the road to raising awareness of the issue of single use plastic pollution to the general public, I feel excited and enthusiastic about encouraging behaviour change in a wider group of people than my fellow environment embracing counterparts."
3 How important do you think it is to reach out to and work with others as you work for this change, and how do you do it?
"It is essential to involve other people to help you manage a project of this nature as it is easy to be sucked in to Day to Day admin tasks which can cause you to lose sight of your goal. I have used a network of trusted and valued contacts and friends to advise me and encouraged other like minded souls who have found me via word of mouth, press and social media, to become active volunteers. "
4 How do you keep that fire in your belly alight without it causing you to burn out? How do you sustain your energies and look after you, and crucially, what's your advice to others?
"That is a difficult problem. I’ve always been a doer and luckily I have a lot of self confidence so believe in myself and my power to see things through. If the going gets tough I just work harder! That's me though and I know I lean on my family and valued friends and businesses when I’m struggling, safe in the knowledge that they are always supportive. I’ve met some amazing ‘virtual’ friends with common goals on social media too and gained knowledge from their posts and comments. My advice is to build a support network and identify tasks which you can delegate before they overwhelm you."
5 Positive change is contagious. Sometimes all that's needed for someone to take action is to see someone else doing something about it. So ... how do you use your experience to inspire others?
"When I talk about the issues that put fire in my belly, my passion seems contagious which inspires others to want to join in, nothing I do consciously, it just seems to happen! I have spent 6 months reading, researching and talking to experts about the problems and issues around single use plastics so I feel empowered to engage in discussions with people and talk knowledgably on the subject with conviction. Knowledge is the key to many solutions - once people realise the problem and the bulb in their brain lights up, they can be inspired to take action, feel good about themselves and tell others."
And finally ... if someone came up to you in a pub or a cafe and said they were fed up/enfuriated/anxious about something they felt was wrong or needed to change...what would you say?
"Do something about it, find like minded souls for sustenance and be the change, no matter how small the step is - each one of us can make a difference by taking positive action. Basically, kick ass and don’t take no for an answer..(Manda gave me permission to swear!)"
Things I would like to change for the better include children connecting with nature and playing free outdoors, our love affair with plastic, and selfish consumerism ... for starters.
How do I do this? Through my business - and all the hours inbetween!