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The Inclusive Voice 

The Inclusive Voice

Dear Friend

"It’s a New Decade, It’s time for Newness
and we refuse the negative energy, we refuse the old systems...
We went to be respected and safe in our diversity.
We want to be shifting to realness and inclusivity...
We are Unstoppable....
Music is that on language we can all speak, it don't matter where we're from, we all understand it. "
Alicia Keys, The Grammys

This week I have had some very moving experiences singing Jewish songs with my choirs to mark #HolocaustMemorialDay.  One member of my Carers Choir shared the immensely courageous, moving story of their grandparents and parents perilous escape from Austria to England where they had to Anglicise their surname to avoid Anti-Semitism.
All divisive, destructive forms of extreme identity politics, such as fascism & Nazism, fabricate and manipulate people's sense of their cultural, religious or national identity and induce fear that they are under threat from the 'other' - eg immigrants are stealing 'our' jobs.  The dominant identity is given voice through the megaphones of media, whilst the voices of the 'other' are violently excluded, oppressed, smothered and silenced. 
Whilst we face a frightening rise in fascism, there is I believe, an unstoppable movement towards an Inclusive Voice which celebrates our differences and shared humanity, enriching our understanding and connection with each other.  It is to this global symphony that I wish to lend my voice in this month's blog.

Understanding The Human Family Tree
At the deepest level, all living things that have ever been looked at have the same DNA code. And many of the same genes. - Richard Dawkin
To eliminate genocide, holocausts, persecution, war, tribal violence - we need to fully understand and embody our interconnectedness.  Tracking both our personal and collective genealogy, DNA and ancestry demonstrates that we are all from everywhere.   The origin in Africa and subsequent movement of people around the globe makes us all immigrants.  As such we are all part of one big tree of humanity with global roots.  Not only are we intimately related to people of all cultures, tribes and creeds - but also to all life itself, sharing masses of genetic material with other species aswell as our precious life and environment on this planet. 

Reclaiming Hidden Voices
Moving from silence into speech is for the oppressed, the colonized, the exploited, and those who stand and struggle side by side a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life and new growth possible. It is that act of speech, of 'talking back,' that is no mere gesture of empty words, that is the expression of our movement from object to subject—the liberated voice
- Bell Hooks

Reclaiming, liberating, including and celebrating the stories and voices who have been oppressed by the dominant white patriarchal history, dogma and identity is an essential part of restoring social justice and creating an inclusive society. If we have any kind of social privilege, we need to be both investigating and dismantling our own conditioning in order to be a good ally to those who have experienced oppression. (White readers - do check out Me And White Supremacy by Layla F Saad.)  The arts can be a powerful medium for giving voice and visibility to those who have been unheard and unseen  - to give just one example, Amie's Freedom Choir, is a safe space for women who have been trafficked to find and explore their voices together.

The Love of Humanity
That idea of peace and love toward humanity shouldn't be nationalistic or denominational. It should be a chief concern for all mankind. - Mos Def

The wisdom of the love of humanity - as taught throughout the ages by artists, sages, educators and wise ones such as MLK and Mandela - teaches us that we are all one family. This is embodied through cultivating empathy, compassion, warmth, friendship, connection and love.
Reconciliation, dialogue and creative encounter through the arts can help bring people of differing views and backgrounds together.
I was recently inspired by the leadership of Hilke Wagner who in response to far right hate, created a series of dialogue events called We Need to Talk at the the Dresden Albertinum Museum:
'I found it important to establish this feeling of personal relationship. We had participants from across the social and political spectrum, with a range of attitudes. And we learned a lot from each other.'

Stories such as these give me hope that we can and are building bridges across perceived divisions of identity and sing the songs that help us remember our shared humanity.

Wishing you a lovely, loving February

New Year, New Decade, New Voice! 

New Year, New Decade

New Voice!

Dear Katie

Happy New Singing Year!

As we enter another year and another decade,
Here's 3 Joyful Ways to Renew and Claim Your Voice in 2020

Find Your Unique Song
You gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along
Make Your Own Kind of Music - Mama Cass Elliott

It takes courage to sing, there is no getting around that.
We have to be willing to expose, express and voice our creative truth and that is exposing and vulnerable making.  Yet to live with that truth unexpressed is far more painful and can cause disease, disconnection and disintegration.   Singing is a form of coming home and sometimes it may take a while to find our way through the layers of conditioning.   We can make it safe, easy and graceful and find supportive friends who will help us along the way.  We can also enjoy the unfettered joy of singing solo in the car/ bath/ shower - gifting ourselves moments to sing by and to ourselves creates a resource within us which then becomes translatable into shared or public settings.  The technical term for hanging out with ourselves musically is practice and the more we do it the stronger we get.  We learn to ride the tides of our breath, body, feeling, thoughts and claim our own uniqueness through the waves of the song that sings through us.

Inspiration is Everywhere
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
- April Rain Song, Langston Hughes

Everything around us has a song.
The drumming rain on a roof, the whirr of the fridge, the undertone of a train, the waft of bird song, the thump of a drive-by car stereo.  Everything in our world vibrates with sound and everything within us does too - our heartbeat, our cells are all humming with life.  This means we are never alone or lost when it comes to music - all we need do is tap into our inner and outer soundscape and the soundtrack emerges.  There are so many tools to help us sing - from innumerable online articles, blogs and youtube tutorials (shout out to Wendy's Warm Ups) to real life helpful people such as singing teachers and choirs.  The sources of inspiration are inexhaustible, and when we allow ourself to breath in and receive musical inspiration, it naturally follows that something lovely will be exhaled and expressed.

Singing is Huge!
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
- On Time - Khalil Gibran

Singing is a huge Tardis - it can take you anywhere.
At choir, we sing songs from all decades, eras, genres, moods which transport us into realms of memory, insight, feeling, thought and connection personally and collectively. The epic creative vehicle of song is so much greater than our small selves - it can carry, absorb and integrate our fears, doubts, worries, tensions and stresses.  As we sing, we grow into bigger, more expansive, more loving, generous people who can make a contribution to the world. The song that is waiting inside us will be unique to us and call us into action - whether that is singing our baby to sleep or showing up at a protest hearts on fire and voices blazing.

So my 3 questions to you for your voice this year are
What am I longing to sing, create or express in 2020?
What sources of inspiration can I allow myself to receive?
What dream/ vision/ longing is my song calling me to be/ do/ serve?

Wishing you a courageous heartfelt adventure of song
this new year and new decade!
Sparkly New Year Singing Wishes

Magical Singing Solstice Christmas Card 

A Year in Song 2019 - Thank you for sharing your Singing Magic!

Magical Singing

Solstice Christmas Card

A Year in Song 2019
When we are aching from life's challenges, singing can sprinkle a little bit of magic into our hearts. As we sing, we grow in strength, resilience, friendship, creativity, imagination, purpose and connection. We contribute to one another in a magical community of song.

With big thanks to all the singers who have
shared their magic with me this year.
Looking forward to a new year of song in 2020.

Thanks especially to:
All the amazing friends who took part in Sing for Water 2019 & raised £37k for WaterAid
St Christopher's Hospice Compassionate Neighbours Programme & Stephanie Turner @Christchurch
Gill Manly - International Women's Day Event @ The Oval
Esther Austin - Turning Point Magazine
Sydenham Singers, Vauxhall Voices & Janna Goodwille
Raise the Roof & Kirsty Martin
Mitcham Community Choir & Neil Ridulfa
Holistic Healing College & Blue Marsden
Sydenham Arts & Rachel D'Cruze
Forest Schools Association
Caterham Community Choir & Sarah Fisher
The Hive Community Choir @St John the Evangelist
with thanks to funding from Crystal Palace Festival and One Croydon Alliance
HeartSong @Holwell Village Hall & John Burden
Heart & Lung Songs @ St George's Hospital
ManSong @ Landmark Arts Centre
Welcome Choir @ St John the Evangelist in partnership with Social Prescribing
Crystal Palace Transition Town, SE19 Lates, West Norwood Feast,
Crystal Palace Food Market
London Mozart Players
Croydon Carers Choir @Carers Support Centre
- with thanks to Creative Croydon & Mike King's My Cool Music Foundation
All the brave adventurers who came to explore their voice and creativity in coaching sessions.

More info about choirs
More info about creative coaching
Music written and composed by Katie Rose 2019

Wishing you a magical Solstice,

Christmas & Midwinter

and Sparkling Start to 2020

A Feast of Festive Singing 

A Feast of Festive Singing

A concert is always like a feast day to me. – James Taylor
So the annual snowstorm of Christmas approaches full of frosty mornings, frozen fingers, frenzied shopping… and lots of fabulous festive singing.   I am so grateful for the bountiful gifts that singing brings and that I have a warm family hearth to return to at midwinter.  I'm also aware it can also be a challenging time, fraught with personal, social and global pressures. 
So here's 5 ways to make Midwinter a Feast for one and all.

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.-  Emily Dickinson
 The true joy in life often comes from unexpected and everyday sources.  There's a huge amount of social pressure to be seen (and posting on social media) having a good time.  An antidote to this is to participate in the party of simple pleasures life is continually serving up.  One thing I love about London life is the spontaneity of quirky street interactions - suddenly out of nowhere the whole street can start pulsing with the sound system of skateboarder riding down the tram tracks.  Nature is also constantly throwing spectacular parties - this morning the sight of a host of frosted spiderwebs filled me with awe.  I also love seeing laughing, smiling faces at choir - of being able to fool around together as well as making a beautiful sound.  Fun happens when we allow ourselves to engage from our inner-sense and play with all the joy, wonder, delight, beauty and whackiness of life.

Do whatever it takes to convey your essential self - Martha Beck
Winter is the natural time for retreat and reflection. Giving ourselves space - even if it is just by taking a moment for a deep breath in the midst of the madness - enables us to reboot and refuel.  Creative activities, including singing, offer a space for respite and reflection, enabling us to reconnect with our essential selves.  In a time when social and family expectations can feel overwhelming, by asking
 Do I really want/ need to do/ be / think/ say yes to / buy this ?
we can act from a place of authenticity rather than obligation, survival or pressure.  We can focus on what really matters and what is sustainable.  If buying the extended family gifts is becoming unmanageable we can set up an agreement to do a Secret Santa that takes the pressure off everyone. Instead of being seduced by the pressure to buy more, more, more we can affirm that in the words of a Helen Yeomans song we've been singing in choir, We Got All The Love, all that we need to change our world.
We can prune away the excess to focus on the essence of what we really want our midwinter celebrations to really be about - a nourishing feast of love, friendship, creativity, strength, hope and truth.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. – Mary Oliver
Many midwinter festivals share the message of alchemising light from darkness.  We are living in times of great challenge - from the local to global levels including increasingly intense political volatility and climate change. Yet there are also daily instances of inspiring heroism, leadership and activism.  Just yesterday in London members of the public and police demonstrated huge courage in the face another terror attack on London Bridge.  I have also been recently deeply moved by the story of New Zealand barber, Matt Barber, founder of the She is Not Your Rehab movement, who is helping both men and women heal and break the cycles of domestic abuse.  Matt has alchemised his own story and those of the men who sit in his barbers chair to create a global movement of empowerment and transformation.  Inspired by his story and by reflections after Chai Day, an initiative set up by Annie Lennox's charity The Circle to mark the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, I have written a song - Stop The Abuse.  My Carers Choir have also been alchemising their experience of caring in a songwriting project funded by the My Cool Music Foundation and will be recording their song  'Keep Going' this month.  Singing enables us to draw out the learning and wisdom from our most challenging experiences.

Offering sanctuary is a revolutionary act; it expresses love, when others offer scorn or hate. It recognises humanity, when others deny and seek to debase it. Sanctuary says 'we' rather than 'I'. It is belonging—the building block of community.
― Diane Kalen-Sukra

Cultivating a sense of internal and external safety is essential for wellbeing and enables us to become resilient in the face of challenges.  Creative practices can help us stay grounded and connected during the dark times and I continually witness how quickly choirs become a place of refuge for those facing challenging life circumstances.  We are always enriched when we offer the sanctuary of warm heartedness to one another - lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on, smiling and making eye contact with a homeless person instead of looking away, cooking a hot meal for an unwell friend.  These small daily actions create a space for reassuring connection, affirming our shared humanity.

The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but found by the heart. - Judy Garland
The true treasures of midwinter are not to be found in the photoshopped adverts of rampant commercialism. Life is not airbrushed.  Just like the holly, it comes with both beautiful fruit and thorny prickles.  Traditionally the season of goodwill, midwinter festivals encourage us to be generous towards those who are on facing the thorns -  those who are homeless or whose homes are not safe, those who are fleeing warfare or deprivation, those who are unwell or facing death.  We have a voice inside of us, that costs nothing and can bestow a fortune of happiness. Whether it's singing a child to sleep or awakening an elder momentarily from the fog of dementia, singing enables us to connect and share the treasures of the heart.
Wishing you a true feast of festive delight this Midwinter

Warmest sparkly seasonal singing wishes

Daily Actions for Climate Change 

As we all become aware of the urgency of taking action to address climate change and global warming, people are asking what can I DO practically to help the planet. Here's a list of things that not only help the environment but also save time, money and energy.

Click here to download this article as a PDF

General Principles of Eco-Friendly Actions

·      Do What You Can Do – we all have unique individual circumstances and are subject to different socio-economic systems depending on our locality eg: rural areas are less likely to be well served by public transport than cities.  Some eco-friendly options are not yet widely available and/or affordable.  It’s more important to focus on what we can do than what we can’t. If we each choose just a few achievable daily actions, together it adds up and makes a difference.

·      We’re all in it together - it’s a waste of time and energy to compete and make divisive judgements about lifestyle choices.  Better rather to be the change, encourage each other and remember that we are all doing our best to make changes whilst living in a society that is currently running unsustainably.

·      Make Do and Mend – it’s often more creative and less costly to our purses and the planet to make or mend something – eg A big home-made pot of soup can feed a family for several days, and will cost less in money and packaging than individual portions.

·      Recycle & Reuse - many items can be cost effectively reused or recycled either via schemes or amongst our own social networks.

·      Share & Circulate – keeping objects and energy moving makes social and economic sense – eg swop books with a friend, offer a neighbour a lift.

·      Consume Mindfully – regularly asking the question do I really need this? can really help cut consumption. As the song goes, we may not get what we want (short term gratification) but we get what we need (a healthier self, society, planet)

“The one thing we all have to do is simply not to waste.

 Don’t waste plastic. Don’t waste food. Don’t waste power.

Live within our means without inflicting damage on our planet.”Sir David Attenborough

Energy Supply Facts
·      C02 makes up 82% of greenhouse gases emissions in the UK

·      Energy supply and power stations are the largest cause of C02 emissions.

·      In 2018 the total UK C02 emissions was 43.5% less than 1990 and 2.5% less than 2017. This is due to the decline in emissions from power stations (9.9% less than 2017) and the movement away from coal and towards renewables.

·      C02 emissions from the use of fossil fuels has fallen by 38% since 1990 and consumption by 22%. 

·      Use of coal for energy generation has dropped by 65% since 1990.  Emissions for electricity generated by coal are nearly twice as high as electricity generated by gas. 

·      Nuclear and renewable forms (low carbon usage) generated 47% of electricity generation in 2018, an increase of 20% since 1990.

·      There was also a 2.6% decrease between 2017 and 2018 in transport emission due to changes in traffic volume or improvement in fuel efficiency

·      In 2018 there was increase in residential emissions due to colder winters. The residential sector accounted for 18% of carbon emissions which is mainly the use of gas for heating and cooking.

Ideas to reduce househould energy consumption

·      Support campaigns to increase renewables and devolve away from fossil fuels, nuclear power and fracking.

·      Use sustainable energy providers eg - Ecotricity

·      Make sure your home is well insulated to keep fuel usage and bills down*

·      Make sure your boiler is running efficiently and has good heating controls *

·      Avoid heating empty spaces – eg corridors/ spare rooms.*

·      Make use of your council’s energy advice service or organisations like Heat London * which offer grants to help make your home more energy efficient.

·      Use a smart thermostat

·      Choose energy-efficient appliances – eg check your fridge / freezer uses environmentally friendly refrigerant.

·      Check out the ethics of brands and suppliers at The Good Shopping Guide

·      Turn off radios, TVs, lights, computers, plug sockets when not in use.

·      Use LED and energy saving lightbulbs and use natural light wherever possible.

·      Let hair dry naturally instead of using a drier.

·      Install solar panels / a wind farm!

·      Wash laundry on eco settings - uses less time, water and energy.

·      Dry washing on a line not in the drier.

·      Repair electronic appliances before you bin

·      Recycle electronic appliances via friends, online schemes or local waste depots

·      Don't upgrade your phone until necessary

·      Switch off/ put your phone on airplane when not in use

·      Recycle/ recharge batteries

·      Refill print cartridges

·      Unplug and go for a walk

*Thanks to Malcolm Bell, Energy Officer at Croydon Council for these ideas


Money is energy and investing in green suppliers and financers helps grow a more sustainable economy - thanks to Rebecca Trevalyan at Library of Things for these ideas:

·      Move your money to a bank that invests in businesses with environmental/ community impact eg. Triodos, Ecology Building Society

·      Try your hand at green investment through platforms like Abundance, Ethex

·      Switch your pension to a green scheme recommended by ShareAction
·      Look up your local council / university - if they don’t have a fossil fuel divestment commitment, write to them or join a campaign


·      In 2018, the transport sector accounted for 33% of UK C02 emissions.  The largest contributor is road transport. 

·      Across Europe, transport accounts for about 25% emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities, road transport accounts for 70% of this. 

Ideas for Reducing Road Transport Usage

·      Walk, run, cycle instead of using transport

·      Walk to pick up shopping or take-aways instead of getting deliveries.

·      Write to your council and ask for more safe cycle/walking routes

·      Use public transport instead of driving

·      Lift share

·      Use a car-pool service – such as Street Car.

·      Use an electric car

·      Use biofuels or fuel additives in the car

·      Drive efficiently - combine multiple errands into one trip

·      Shopping online – can decrease the number of shoppers on the road because items are delivered in bulk.  Ordering multiple items from one place and opting for standard rather than next day delivery reduces transportation and costs.


·      European flight rose by 80% between 1990-2014 and are anticipated to rise by a further 45% from 2014-2035, resulting in the same rises in percentages of C02 emissions.

·      Due to technological advances, fleet renewal, increased Air Traffic Management efficiency and the 2008 economic downturn, the number of flights, emissions and noise exposure in 2014 are at the same levels as 2005.
·      Fuel – aviation accounts for 2% of global carbon emissions and 20% of global oil consumption. The first flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – the use of biofuels- took place in 2008 and was approved for commercial flights in 2011.  NASA estimates use of 50% aviation biofuel use could cut air pollution by 50-70%
·      In addition to C02, aviation emits air pollutants which are damaging to human health, agriculture and wildlife.

·      Exposure to noise pollution has been shown to impact sleep, cardiac health and stress levels. Technological developments and noise pollution regulation can help reduce airplane noise pollution.

Ways to make air travel more eco-friendly

·      Take a train or a boat instead of a plane where possible - eg internal or intercity flights.

·      Fly with an airline with a transparent environmental policy including - using SAF, recycling waste, limiting single use plastics, carbon offsetting and reducing noise pollution.

·      Carry less luggage - this reduces the weight of the plane and the fuel used.

Domestic & Household Waste Facts
·      Household waste accounts for 12% of the UK’s waste.

·      By 2016, 48.5% of household waste was recycled and 24.4% was disposed in landfill.

·      In 2017, 70% of packaging waste was recycled or recovered – this includes metal, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and wood.

·      Biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) is waste that decomposes in landfill, emitting methane gases, including food and green waste, paper and cardboard.

·      In 1950, the global population 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic.  In 2016 more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is expected to double by 2034.

Ideas for Reducing Household Waste

·      Recycle using your councils recycling scheme

·      Repair items before binning

·      Refill food, cleaning products and toiletry containers at local reuse stores / health shops – my local favourites include The Store Cupboard & Roots & Cycles in Crystal Palace Food Market. A UK wide list is available here: -

·      Give your jam jars to people who make jam
·      Share/ borrow items that are seldom used rather than buying new - eg garden equipment etc.  Use or create a local Library of Things.

·      Make agreements about gift giving with family at birthdays and Christmas to avoid buying more stuff that no one wants.

Ideas for Reducing Plastic Waste

·      Carry a cloth/ recyclable bag instead of using plastic bags

·      Reuse plastic bags multiple times and recycle them at your supermarket

·      Pick up, bin and recycle plastic litter - do a community litter pick

·      Carry a portable water bottle, cup & cutlery to avoid using single use takeaways

·      Avoid single-use / disposable items - eg razors, nappies etc

·      Boycott/ lobby the leading brands in plastic packaging – a Greenpeace & Break Free From Plastic audit of a plastic cleanup of 187,000 items across 42 countries found that Coca Cola, Pepsi and Nestle are the top 3 and generate 14% of ocean litter. 


·      Use soap/ shampoo bars instead of products in plastic bottles – available from Lush or your local health shop.

·      Make home-made toiletries from natural products

·      Avoid products containing harmful, polluting chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Parabens

·      Choose fairtrade/ organic/ human friendly brands which don't test on animals


·      The average woman uses 11,000 menstrual products in a lifetime - approx 200kg of products which are thrown away.

·      Most pads are 90% plastic and the average packet of sanitary pads contains the equivalent of 4 plastic bags.

·      Many sanitary products contain harmful, pollutant perfumes and chemicals.

·      Menstrual products are the 5th most common piece of litter found on European beaches.

Eco-Friendly Menstruation

·      Bin, don’t flush menstrual products.

·      Use reusable sanitary products - cloth pads or menstrual cups

·      Use cotton, plastic free options like Natracare

Ideas for Eco-Friendly Household Chemicals/ Maintenance

·      Use eco-friendly cleaning products such as white vinegar or bicarb

·      When decorating or making home improvements use eco-friendly materials - eg paint, cement etc

·      Re-use and share materials

·      Ask DIY stores for off-cuts or products that are being rebranded but are still usable.

Trees and Forest Facts

·      Forests cover 31% of the planet – providing important habitats for wildlife and people and helping to prevent flooding and soil erosion.

·      Forests absorb C02, using the sugars from carbon for growth and releasing 02 back into the air.  A young tree eats 13lb C02 per year growing to 48lbs aged 10 years. Every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe.

·      Sustainable use of wood can be an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

·      13.2 million people are employed in the forest sector and another 41 million have jobs in related sectors.

·      Over half the world’s forests have been cleared over 10,000 years, mostly within the last 50 years.

·      The planet loses 18.7 million hectares of forest per year which is about the size of Panama and the equivalent of 27 football fields per minute.

·      About 17% of the Amazon Forest has been lost in the last 50 years.

·      20% of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation.

·      Wildlife is being destroyed at the rate of 137 animal, plant and insect species per day, 50,000 per year.

·      Causes of deforestation include mining, paper production, urban and housing development, agriculture, logging, cattle ranching.

·      Deforestation causes increased C02 emissions, loss of species, acidic oceans, flooding, erosion, loss of habitat and employment.

·      The Environmental Paper Network say 640 million trees worth of paper is thrown away annually.  If we recycled we would save 27.5 million tonnes of C02 emissions.

·      Recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees.

·      Scientistshave found that global reforestation of 11% of all land (1.7bn hectares of treeless land) could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activity.  It would take 50-100 years of tree growth for this to become fully effective.

Ideas for reducing your paper footprint

·      Only print/ photocopy when necessary

·      Use email for paperwork

·      Use phone apps for tickets/ loyalty schemes,

·      Opt for paper-free online bank statements, utility bills, newsletters, catalogues.

·      Save and reuse envelopes and Jiffy bags

·      Shred and recycle paperwork

·      Reuse scrap paper for shopping lists, notes, journaling, children’s drawing.

·      Return junk mail to senders requesting they stop sending unsolicited mail and save trees.

·      Use recycled paper, envelopes, cardboard and loo roll.

·      Read books, magazines and newspapers online or at the library.

·      Buy books second hand from charity shops or swop with friends.

·      Use recycled boxes from supermarkets when moving house

·      Recycle and reuse cards and gift wrap.

Ideas for Boosting Tree Life and Green Spaces

·      Plant a tree or support tree planting charities

·      Dedicate a tree/s to a loved one via the Woodland Trust

·      A tree is for life not just for Christmas - decorate the real tree in your garden / street or make a Christmas tree from fallen branches instead of chopping one down.  Buy a tree with roots and plant it after Christmas.

·      Garden - cultivate your own, join a community garden, become a guerrilla gardener

·      Plant wildflowers to encourage bees and butterflies

·      Plant more bamboo - it's a superstar carbon muncher

·      Put a bird feeder/ bee/ insect house in your garden

·      Grow your own food and share the goodies.

·      Grow a garden on your roof/ balcony/ drive/ verge

·      Avoid use of harmful pesticides and insecticides

·      Visit, protect and act mindfully towards local green spaces and parks (don't litter)

·      Turn into a tree when you die - there are lots of eco-friendly funeral options including using your ashes to grow a tree!

Food Facts

·      It takes large amounts of water to produce food and drink – 100 buckets of water are required to produce just one loaf of bread.

·      The estimated area of land required to produce food thrown away by UK households is 19,000 square kilometres.

·      Reducing food waste would save the equivalent of at least 17m tonnes of carbon dioxide – the environmental equivalent of taking 1:5 cars off UK roads.

·      Recent reports show that 2.2 million people in the UK experience food insecurity and Unicef cite 1:5 youngsters under 15 live in a food insecure home.

·      Whilst on a global scale, the Global Hunger Index indicates gradual progress is being made to reduce hunger. However extreme events including climate disaster means that global hunger has risen.
·      Meat and dairy farming has a high carbon footprint.  Livestock farming generates 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor to water and air pollution.  Industrial agriculture and overfishing are one of the prime drivers of the extinction crisis.  Feeding cattle requires huge amounts of grain and accounts for a third of all arable land. Decline in land quality and soil erosion is caused by overgrazing.  Cattle ranching accounts for 80% of deforestation of the Amazon.

Ways to Eat Eco-Friendly

·      Compost food /green waste in your garden or council waste collection scheme

·      Reduce food waste by meal planning, freezing and reusing left overs

·      Support foodbanks and food waste charities and schemes

·      Use a veg box scheme eg Abel & Cole

·      Make written and verbal requests of supermarkets, shops, restaurants, take-aways to reduce food packaging and waste. 

·      Put packed lunches/ refrigerated food in a box rather than plastic bags/ cling film.

·      Cook at home using good quality fruit and veg, boosting your health and reducing the packaging and transportation of processed and take-away food.

·      Shop fair trade and organic where possible

·      Shop at your local market or greengrocer - to reduce food transportation.

·      Explore vegan/ vegetarian options

Water Facts

·      In 2018, a single member household used an average of 54 cubic meters per year in the UK.  On average each person uses 141 litres of water per day.

·      A bath uses the highest amount of water - 81 litres, compared to a shower - 46 litres.

·      A washing machine cycle takes an average of 56 litres, dishwasher 24 litres and toilet flush 7.5 litres of water.

·      Customers with water meters use on average 133 litres per day compared to 167 litres without a meter.

·      According to WaterAid783 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population. 5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, almost two fifths of the world's population. Around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation - that's almost 2,000 children a day.

·      Approx 8 million pieces of plastic pollution enter our oceans daily.

·      Plastics account for 60- 90% of all marine litter.

·      Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

·      100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. Marine plastic pollution has been found in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabirds.

·      Oceans have become 30% more acidic due to increased C02 emissions, putting many species at risk.

Ways to be mindful about water usage and pollution:

·      Install a free water meter and save money on your water bills

·      Use free water saving gadgets - eg shower heads - available from Thames Water

·      Take short showers instead of baths

·      Only use dishwashers/ washing machines for a full load

·      Don't leave the tap running whilst brushing teeth/ washing up

·      Don’t run the tap before filling a glass - it’s a myth that it needs to run clean.

·      Only use as much water as needed when filling the kettle or washing up.

·      Use a dual flush / water-saving gadget in the loo

·      Recycle bath/shower water to water the garden

·      Collect and use rain water on the garden

·      Be mindful not to litter the ocean/river/ beach

·      Support ocean/ river cleaning schemes

·      Support WaterAidto help bring lifesaving clean water and sanitation to those in need around the world.

Fashion Industry Facts

·      The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint and is the second greatest global polluter after the oil industry.

·      Every year the world consumes 80 billion items of clothing

·      In 2013 of 15.1 million tonnes of textile waste, 12.8 million tonnes was discarded.

·      The fashion industry generates 20% of global waste water

·      Textile clothing that ends up in landfill leaches chemicals into the ground.

·      Synthetic textiles such as polyester are made from fossil fuels and are non-biodegradable.  When washed, these textiles shed microplastics into our water supply and oceans.

·      The cotton industry uses 24% of global insecticides and 11% of pesticides. Using recycled cotton saves 20,000 litres of water per kg of cotton.

·      15% of fabric ends up on the cutting room floor.

·      The rights and working conditions of garment makers are described as slave labour in manufacturing countries across Asia.  Many workers do not receive a living wage and work 14-16 hour days, 7 days a week. They are exposed to toxic chemicals in unsafe buildings and face verbal and physical abuse.  Workers Unions are forbidden.  80% of workers are women.  Child labour is widespread.

·      The average consumer throws away 70 lbs of clothing and shoes annually.  Only 15% of consumer clothing is recycled, compared to 75% of pre-used manufacturing clothing.

·      Consumers in the UK have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their wardrobes. 

·      The average lifespan of a piece of clothing is 3 years. If this was extended by just 3 months per item it would reduce carbon and water footprints by 5-10%.

·      70% of the global population use second hand clothing

·      Nearly 50% of used clothing is given to charity shops.

Ideas for reducing clothing waste and consumption

·      Avoid putting clothing in landfill

·      Buy/ give clothes to/from charity shops

·      Swap clothes with friends or local clothes swap shop/scheme

·      Use your council clothes, textiles and shoes recycling scheme

·      Upcycle and refashion old clothes and textiles

·      Sew, knit, darn, make and mend clothes
·      Turn old clothes into cleaning rags
·      Reduce use of synthetic textiles

·      Call on fashion brands to act ethically over waste and labour conditions

·      Find ethical brands which have a transparent environmental policy and fair working conditions for labourers - eg: Ethical Superstore

Ideas for Addressing Climate Change in the Workplace

·      Involve everyone in discussing and setting sustainability and CSR goals and policies

·      Calculate the workplace carbon footprint, set a carbon neutral target and invest in carbon offsetting

·      Have a clear recycling policy for all workplace waste

·      Have a no-print policy for paperwork and emails

·      Recycle office furniture and electronics - donate to schools, hospitals or schemes

·      Use human and eco-friendly chemicals

·      Reduce use of product packaging and single use plastics.

·      Encourage everyone to bring their own coffee cup rather than using disposables

·      Sustainable use of transport – eg have a cycle rack at work, encourage lift sharing or carpools, reduce transportation where possible.

·      Create a workplace garden (could be on the roof /side of the building) and/or sponsor a local community garden

·      Run a workplace choir to build a sense of connection and community

·      Contribute to environmental charities and organise workplace fundraisers

·      Turn off lights, appliances, equipment when not in use especially overnight.

Community Action

·      Be neighbourly and share resources - social isolation has more impact on our health than smoking and drinking - so you are helping keep people happy and out of hospital by being friendly!

·      Build community networks - resilient communities are better placed to support each other and be resourceful during climate change

·      Get involved in your local Transition Town Network or local environmental group to tackle community issues together – eg doing a community clean up

Global Actions

Climate Justice

·      Colonisation, slavery, plunder and industrialisation by white Western patriarchal societies has created gross global socio-economic inequality and lasting environmental damage.  To give just one example, Africa produces 75% of all the cocoa in the world, yet only receives 2% of the $100 billion revenue from the chocolate industry.

·      The brunt of climate change is carried by BAME, women, low income communities and developing countries.  Climate disasters hit harder and with more impact on communities in the Global South.
·      In cities, BAME and low income communities experience higher rates of noise, transport and industrial pollution and are excluded from decisions which impact their living environment.  Poor housing, inadequate healthcare, less access to green spaces and social facilities reduce the ability of these communities to cope with climate change.

·      The territories of indigenous peoples are continually invaded and destroyed by mining, pipelines and deforestation.

·      Slave labour, child labour, violent and unethical working conditions exist in many of the western industries responsible for environmental pollution and damage.

·      Women face exclusion or reduced access to healthcare, education, political power, earning capacity and career opportunities. Two thirds of the worlds illiterate are women. In Africa, women produce 90% of basic foods whilst earning 1% of arable land.  In areas of water scarcity, women are responsible for 70% of water chores.

Ways to take action globally

·      Support environment charities - eg Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace

·      Support schemes that are acting to protect endangered species - eg WWF

·      Support global reforestation NGOs and charities eg those working in the Amazon

·      Support, donate or volunteer on relief schemes/ NGOs and charities working in areas impacted by climate change after natural disasters particularly in the Global South

·      Support the land rights of indigenous peoples

·      Support the movement for climate justice

·      Support the education and empowerment of women worldwide - an increase in education is accompanied by reduced birth rates and less population growth.  Plan International and The Circle are working to empower women and girls worldwide.

Raise your voice

·      Talk and discuss issues with friends, family and colleagues

·      Sign petitions about the environment/ climate change

·      Write to your MP

·      Protest Peacefully – Extinction Rebellion/ Global Climate Strike

·      Use social media to spread the word and share ideas and inspiration.

·      Sing!

Kids and Schools

·      Educate and be educated by your children

·      Encourage and support climate friendly action in schools – eg recycling school waste

·      Encourage outdoor learning and play for yourself and your children - Forest Schools have lots of resources.

·      Encourage children to learn to garden and grow their own food at school

·      Be inspired and moved to take care of the future for our children and grandchildren.

Written by

Katie Rose October 2019


UK statistics on Greenhouse Emissions

Europe Transport Stats

European Aviation

UK Waste

Environmental Impact of Meat Production


Fashion Industry Waste Statistics

Report on women, gender equality and climate justice

Ghana Business