Tag Archives: environment

“There’s an activist in all of us and you don’t have to shout to be heard”

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a book while waiting for a train last week, wandering around the bookshop with an hour to pass. The book was Small World, Big Ideas edited by Satish Kumar, and it gave me the inspiration I have been looking for. For those that don’t know, Satish Kumar is a former Jain monk and long-term peace and environmental activist (For information about his life’s work and more visit http://www.resurgence.org/satish-kumar/ the magazine for which he works as Editor-in-Chief). The book was published in 2012, and I am so glad to have come across it.

While I was intrigued by the title I was somewhat nervous about the term ‘activist’ which drums up the most awful and violent images in most of our minds. What I in fact got from this book was a reimagining of the term activist – in the most positive and inspiring way possible. The book is a collection of mini biographies, with people such as Caroline Lucas, Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Franny Armstrong discussing their ‘big ideas’ – how they are trying to change the world for the better. The most beautiful part of the book is how peaceful their stories are. The integrity of the people in the book shone through in their words and the achievements of these individuals is astonishing.

I am generally an optimist. I am one of ‘those people’ who believe anyone can make a difference, which is why I fight to change things. As a public health nurse, if I didn’t believe in people’s inherent capacity for change I would be in the wrong job. The book came to me at a time when my usually unwavering optimism was taking a bit of a hit. Work stresses and depressing world news items got on top of me, as they inevitably do for all of us at some point. Thank goodness that’s over! Can’t try and tackle a problem as big climate change or try to motivate others with that sort of attitude! So it’s back to optimism and motivation for me.

The book was beautifully written, inspiring to the core. I would highly recommend it to anyone feeling in need of a little boost. Especially those of us who embrace the notion of peaceful activism. It can be a hard, lonely road! And for those people that you know who are maybe in need of a little gentle persuasion to begin to act on their ‘big ideas’, this would make a perfect gift.

A website based on the ideas within the book can be found here http://www.smallworldbigideas.org/

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Transition Networks

For those of you who havent seen it already, I have been interviewed by Rob Hopkins for the Transition Network’s website. Check it out here. The Transition movement are interested in community led action. The idea being that small local actions can make big impacts and change the world, an idea which strikes a chord with me. It is an exciting, optimistic approach which all of us could implement. It is sometimes difficult to see how you could actually help, but the inspiring people involved in this movement show how its done! Check out their website for loads of info and hopefully some of you might decide that you want to start a local movement yourselves.

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Florence and the Environment

Good ol’ Florence Nightingale. Widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in nursing history. What surprised me in my reading about her was just how inspiring she was for those of us in public health. She helped shape public awareness of socially unjust policies and campaigned against policies affecting human health.

Though science has moved on considerably since the time of Nightingale, it is interesting to note that she championed the causes of:

– adequate housing

– clean air

– clean water

– cleanliness

– sunlight

For anyone who wants to read more, there was an article published in 2013 in Nursing Science Quarterly by Professor S. Bunkers of South Dakota University.  

 

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