Tag Archives: positive

A Toolkit for Sustaining a Positive Attitude

If you’re one of those people that agonize over the world’s many problems, and find that your awareness of current issues is threatening to turn into a black cloud of apathy and despair (rather than a fuel for positive action) then you are who I wrote this post for. Many people I know care a great deal about the environment, about animals, about people who’re not getting a fair share of the booty plundered from the Earth since the Industrial Revolution. They care, and they know about the huge challenges, and they get bitter and disillusioned. They are not the people that will change the world. The people that will change the world are action focused, and most importantly, they get the balance right. Balance is always important. Whether you’re standing in the middle of a see-saw, playing diplomat to squabbling siblings or regulating your oh-my-god-how-awful-let’s-fix-it to oh-my-god-how-amazing-let’s-join-in information intake. Never underestimate the importance of balance. Nature is all about balance, and aren’t we supposed to be learning from nature? That sounds about right. Anyway, I myself have many times slipped into a temporary state of despair with the enormity of the challenges we face. Climate change, deforestation, resource depletion and peak oil, extinction of animals, crippling poverty, food shortages, the ridiculousness of the more more more economic system, waste and pollution, habitat destruction… It just seems like too much too handle. Well, actually, all that I can think about and just about still keep a level mind – it’s other people’s apathy and ignorance that gets to me, personally. Luckily though, I manage to keep these sad bursts under control and try to stay on the optimistic side of whatever we call reality, most of the time at least. My reason: otherwise I wouldn’t bother spending my life trying to make the world more like my daydreams. People that are depressed with the state of the world stop bothering to do good stuff… And that’s very sad. So I thought I’d put together some of the techniques I use to keep up my morale – and call it a ‘toolkit’ because I think that sounds cool.

Focus on the good stuff:

Inspiration leads to action, not to mention a happier life. It’s incredibly important to learn about problems and issues – otherwise they have no hope of being solved. You should definitively keep up to date and inform yourself and others about things that may be bad but need the attention so they can eventually be sorted out, or at least improved. But it’s also important not to go overboard with all the nasty stuff. This can lead to a ”it’s all going to sh*t – there’s no point me even trying” attitude which is understandable but unhealthy, devoid of fun and critically: can bring other people down to your level or just piss them off. You don’t want to go there. Instead you should make sure you keep yourself up to date with all the great stuff that’s going on. Subscribe to Positive News, Inspired Times or a similar publication. Reading about people all over the world who are digging up their gravel and planting carrots, campaigning for peace, building eco-communities, planting edible forests, teaching permaculture in Ethiopia, installing solar panels and implementing local currencies will refill your Hope Meter. Talking to the real live people who are doing these things, or even better, getting involved with them yourself, will do this faster. I’ve heard that the news and media portray mostly bad news because that’s what sells. I’m not sure. Wouldn’t you rather hear good news? Good things are happening everywhere – get out there and see. I’d recommend a 60% good info to 40% bad info split to maximize your awareness while knowing what positive projects to throw yourself into.

Consider other revolutions:

Humanity has a history of overcoming huge challenges, of inventing it’s way out of a tight corner, and of changing it’s core values when the old ones become viewed as obsolete by a snowballed majority. Sure we can change! That’s what we do. Consider racial equality, feminism, gay rights. These battles may not be won in all places, but they are pretty much there in many. The conviction with which people have and do campaign for these causes gives me a massive source of inspiration. It’s disgusting to read about how white and black people once had to use separate buses, or how women were once considered the ”property” of their fathers or husbands, or how homosexuality used to be illegal. But looking around at how things are so different today (at least in my home country, I know not all places are this lucky) makes it visible that bad ideas can be replaced with better ones. Paradigms can shift. Time moves on and perhaps revolutions are a modern part of evolution – refining our world views as we go. So who’s to say the Sustainability Revolution can’t be the next success? And if that’s the case, then don’t you want to tell your grandchildren you were part of it?  I hope I’ll be alive to hear a small child say: ”What? People used to cut down forests to make paper, write on it once and then throw it in massive holes of stinking rubbish six times the size of the allotment plot down the road?! But that’s craaaaazy!

Break it down:

I’m pretty sure you need to realize that everything in this world is interconnected before you can get anywhere near understanding an issue. If you’ve done that and now understand too many issues too much, you might need to break it down again before you can take your head out of your hands and do something about it. Take a deep breath, and start to home in on your locale. By focusing in on the place nearest and dearest to you, you can bite off a manageable sized chunk of the world’s challenges. In the global situation you are one of roughly 7 billion, but in a community setting you’re suddenly much more powerful. The Transition Towns Network are experts in the community action approach and they’re well worth rubbing shoulders with. Start a community garden. Write to the paper. Go for local council. Hold clothes swap parties. Join a food co-op or veg box scheme. You get the idea.

Network, make friends and connect it up:

It might be that you’re finding it all too much because you feel like no one else cares. It’s easy to think that, but luckily you’re wrong. If your family, friend group, neighbors and colleagues aren’t on the same wave length as you then it can get extremely isolated. Because really, how much can one person do? Like I said, luckily it really isn’t just one person. If you feel isolated you need to network, make some new friends (not necessarily in replacement) and make connections. We’re social animals, after all. The best way to do this is probably to go to events run for and by green-minded people. A film screening of the latest environmental documentary. A permaculture day course. A talk by a relevant speaker. Whatever. many of these kinds of things include a ‘let’s-get-in-a-circle-and-talk-to-each-other’ element despised by the shy but helpful if you actually want to talk to people you don’t know. Real live social interactions are always going to be better, but don’t underestimate the power of the internet either. Whenever I get a new follower or comment on this blog I feel a little glow of happyness that someone somewhere gets and likes what I’m saying. There are countless online forums where you can do anything from lapping up composting tips to ranting about your neighbour littering to organizing eco-villages. One good thing about how industrialized and globalized our world is is how easy it is to share information with people you would never meet in person. I regularly sign online petitions that are posted to me on facebook, and I’ve heard people run whole campaigns over Twitter. Also, volunteering is a great way to meet like minded people while doing something you care about. Surround yourself with inspiring people and it becomes easy to inspire others. You are not alone – you are an integral part of a growing revolution.


Allow yourself to dream. Don’t worry about what could happen if we don’t get off our current unsustainable course headed for disaster. Thinking about how bad it could be won’t help prevent it from happening. It’ll just depress you. Why not picture how you want to world to be? You need something to work towards, don’t you? Keep your eyes on the prize and all that. Imagine what daily life would be like in a future where we got it right. Draw pictures. Sing about it. Make a mood board. Talk about it with your friends. Write a series of diary entries as yourself 40 years into a more positive future. Really think about what you want for the world. Make sure your vision is clear and great enough to make you smile. Then hold it in your mind’s eye as often as possible. Preferably, whilst taking actions that move you a little closer to that future.

Do things that make you feel good:

As an enthusiastic follower of the environmental movement, I want my fellow warriors to be at their best. We need to look after ourselves before we can look after anyone else, or even the planet. And a major part of looking after ourselves is keeping our spirits up. My five other points do help to do this as well, but I wanted to more specifically point out that you should do things that make you feel good. Unless you like pouring toxic waste into the ocean or killing deer, in which case I strongly recommend you find some better hobbies. Personally I find cooking myself some tasty food, going for a walk in nature or listening to some Bob Marley help me out if I’m feeling a bit low. Don’t worry, about a thing. Cause every little thing, is gunna be alright… I just can’t help but be comforted when I listen to this.

I hope you found this tool kit helpful, and here’s some Bob Marley for your enjoyment!


Inspired Times magazine – look!

Since January, I’ve been doing a work experience placement with Inspired Times magazine. I’m surprised I haven’t bragged about it before now actually, but there we go. It’s a positive lifestyle magazine, mostly about holistic health and green living. I basically bus to their office once or twice a week and help them out with whatever needs doing, which happily includes writing editorial for the next issue, and for their sister (unrelated) publication, Backpax.

I love doing this work and am learning loads – it’s fantastic experience for me as I want to work in green media. Like I said, I don’t know why I haven’t posted about this before. I tell everyone who will listen in my day-to-day life!

Anyway, what brought all this up for me is that they’ve just had this cute little video made and I wanted to share it with you.  So are we sitting comfortably? Then hit play and enjoy!


Isn’t the animation adorable? If you’re not familiar with the magazine then you won’t FULLY appreciate it I’m afraid, because the animation is actually made up of all the front-cover art work from the previous issues.

As I mentioned above, I’m actually writing an article for the next issue (coming out April) so I’ll be posting about that when the time comes. I’m so excited to have my writing published!

The Big Bumper Book of Solutions

In my last post, I talked about the importance of looking at the positive. On that note, I sat down and tried to scribble in my notebook as many solutions for implementing a sustainable human society as I could. These are solutions that have already been invented, are being practised or researched, and which I feel have some place in a positive future. Notice the sheer diversity in solutions to single problems – for example at the beginning of the list there are many solutions for sustainable and ethical food production. I think it is incredibly important that we employ a diverse array of solutions for every one issue – just as in wild nature biodiversity makes an ecosystem more resilient, the same is true of our own socio-eco systems. No one tool is sufficient, we must go at things from all angles. With international and national legislation, community projects, green business endeavours, family habits and personal values ALL shifting together.

So here’s the list I came up with. Naturally, it’s not exhaustive.


Permaculture, Transition Towns, community gardens and orchards, community supported agriculture schemes, allotments, productive gardens, small holdings, organic farming, pollytunnels, free-range, localisation, urban trees and green spaces, gorilla gardening, green roofs and roof farms, window-box gardening, hydroponics, vertical farms, veg box schemes, farmer’s markets, town markets, independent shops, forest gardens, edible landscapes, plant-based diets, WOOFing, home preserving, seed-saving, seed swaps, hedge-laying, nature reserves, conservation, habitat-restoration, protected sites and species, biodiversity indicators, ecologists, nature-stewards, re-forestation, coppicing, sustainable woodland management, FSC, natural materials, natural paints, dyes and inks, green chemistry, industrial ecology, recycling, re-using, upcycling, cradle-to-cradle design, replaceable parts, modular design, extended producer responsibility, made-to-last, high energy efficiency, smart metres and grids, localised energy production, off-shore wind farms, wind farms, domestic solar panels, sun farms, hydro-electric power, tidal power, wave power, geothermal heating, efficient wood stoves, passive-houses, strawbale building, cob building, low impact dwellings, eco-houses, eco-villages, eco-cities, composting toilets, community composting, rainwater harvesting and use, reed-bed water purification systems, carbon sequestration, landfill methane collection, hydrogen cars, electric cars, car-share clubs, rentable cars, high-speed rail networks, waste-oil fuels, cheaper buses, internet-conferencing, boat and ship travel, staycations, community volunteering, apprenticeships, internships, place-based learning, holistic education, home education, free education, alternative schools, sustainability literacy, The Great Reskilling, sustainability education, life-long learning, Permaculture design courses, community teaching, Centre of Alternative Technology, ecological research, ethics-based science, natural law, international summits and conferences, international legislation, The Earth Charter, the Green Party, NGOs, true democracy, transparency in government, transparency in business, green businesses, community enterprise, social enterprise, pollution taxes, shorter work-weeks, carbon rationing, litter-picking, local currencies, time-share groups, LETS, Freeconomy, resource-based economy, happiness-based economy, gifting, pass-it-on, ethical banking and investment, credit unions, co-operatives, Fair Trade, international aid for sustainable development, positive media, truthful media, peaceful protests, activism, animal rights, human rights,  eco-fashion, swishing, make-do-and-mend, hand-made clothes, slow-fashion, upcycled fashion, organic fibres, ethical production, natural beauty, herbalism, ayurveda, meditation, tai chi, yoga, nature-spirituality, self-awareness, World Cafes, Open Space technology, political art, petitions, campaigning, celebrating.


And that’s just stuff we’ve already come up with! There’s so much scope for innovation in the near future that these solutions are probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s be inspired.