Updated: Oct 3, 2022
I have found myself writing and saying 'POSITIVE' a lot this week. Not positive, but POSITIVE and I have actually been remiss. It should correctly be written/said 'POSITIVE'.
Whenever we are visiting a school or talking to someone about what we do, we make sure that we highlight our work as being POSITIVE. It's so vitally important. Being POSITIVE doesn't mean that you are in denial about the reality of what is going on out there environmentally. I was surveyed today about how urgent I think the climate and nature crisis is and whether I think the government is addressing the issue adequately. I didn't hold back.
There are two reasons that Planet and People are obsessed with the POSITIVE though:
1. Young People Need It:
We work with young people who haven't created this mess and are going to be faced with some pretty difficult challenges ahead if the general consensus is to be believed (which we do). We don't believe it is right to create stress, overwhelm or panic when we deliver our material in schools. It's not fair. It also tends to put the brakes on action or change. Jess asked a group in school recently how they feel when they get told off. The responses were pretty flat - it's a horrible feeling. She made the point that most of us respond far better to a call to join in with something great, to having our strengths pointed out and celebrated and through inspiration. That's why we go in POSITIVE.
2. We Need It:
Feeling part of something, part of a community all working together for a shared value is motivating. In order to keep going at an issue that feels depressing and hopeless sometimes, we need the wins and the evidence of forward momentum. Two examples came across my radar today:
- British Heart Foundation have displayed these statistics in one of their charity shops. Nothing fancy - just written on paper bags. Sharing some of the POSITIVE of what they are doing. ("Each year we prevent 135,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by selling pre-loved items" and "In one year we saved over 71,000 tonnes of items from going to waste".)
- Smol who make plastic free washing products sent me an email about their away day where they collected 1900 pieces of waste from a local beach. 1900 less pieces of rubbish to clog up a beautiful place. They said the most common item they found was cigarette butts. From their website: One study found just 1 cigarette butt in a litre of water will kill half the fish (Novotny 2011 BMJ). 1900 fewer pieces of waste is POSITIVE. (Image from their website).
Let's not deny the enormity of the environmental challenges now and ahead. But while we are being realistic, let's also recognise that there is plenty of POSITIVE out there too. Planet and People wants to be a part of it!