Can one person really make much of a difference? We say yes, and here’s the proof: four inspirational stories from every-day superheroes who realised that if you want something done, you’d better crack on with it yourself. So look lively, silence your grumblings and embrace the can-do attitude. We challenge you, Shambalans, to get out there and help make things better on the little blue-green marble we call home.
Sarah Corbett, Craftivist Collective
After years of marches, signing protests and working on campaigns for large charities, Sarah Corbett begun to doubt the effectiveness of more aggressive methods of activism. Her experimentation with cross-stitch and embroidery led her to wonder if craft could be a gentler and more targeted tool for social change.
More and more people joined her and five years on, Craftivist Collective has thousands of members, a book release, two TEDx talks and high profile collaborations with the likes of cult jewellers Tatty Devine, The V&A and Secret Cinema, all of which have helped it reach audiences far beyond the normal bounds of activism.
“I’m happy to say that I no longer feel like a burnt-out activist who is upset that I might have to give up fighting for a better world. Craftivism has made activism sustainable for me,” says Sarah.
Join the gang at craftivist-collective.com
Sarah Venn, Incredible Edible
All around UK cities, if you’ve got a sharp enough eye, you’ll see examples of their work; unexpected edible gardens in traffic islands and barren roadsides. The Incredible Edible network works with communities of all types across the UK to grow food in public spaces and up-skill people so they can grow their own too.
Sara Venn has been growing food her whole life, so when she heard about what Incredible Edible were doing, she had to get involved. Last year she started up a Bristol branch of the organisation. Already there are gardens all around the city, bringing edible plants to parts of Bristol where there’s no provision for buying good fresh food. They also work with local organisation Bee The Change to create bee-friendly gardens and spaces.
Sarah said, “It’s a really powerful – it makes you feel in control of something that you don’t normally feel in control of. It’s good food there for everyone.”
Get stuck in at ediblebristol.org.uk
Hermione Taylor, The DoNation
The DoNation’s founding director Hermione says she’s always been a sucker for a challenge. Why
else, as a diabetic with a metal femur, would she have cycled from London to Morocco?
Instead of asking for traditional monetary sponsorship, she tested out an idea: that the environment needs action more than it needs cash. Hermione asked people to donate simple actions instead – such as cycling to work or eating less meat. Instead of saving two flights’ worth of CO2 emissions, she ended up saving the equivalent of eighty-four.
And so Hermione set up The DoNation, to help facilitate pledge sponsorship. Since then, over five thousand people have made pledges, saving around 510 tonnes of carbon (or 1030 flights from London to New York).
Donate by doing here: donatebydoing.org
Lucy and James, Frack Free Dee
Stay-at-home mum Lucy and construction worker James led pretty normal lives up until a year ago,
when fracking rigs started popping up all around where they live. They were worried about the effects on their health and their daughter’s, and they weren’t alone.
Along with other local people, they started Frack Free Dee, a collective for anti-frackers across Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire. Their two small local groups quickly grew to sixteen, and things quickly progressed into involvement in local politics, lobbying and campaigning against the industry. The public pressure helped put the secret activities of the local fracking companies in the spotlight and members of their local council even tweeted in solidarity.
The anti-fracking movement now has over two hundred local groups across the UK. Find your nearest one at frack-off.org.uk
If you’ve got a mission in mind, be sure to pick the brains of Rebel Soul’s crack team of activists at Shambala Festival. They’ve got the practical know-how to help you make your idea a reality, and make a great cup of tea to boot. All profits made from café sales go to the campaigns they’re supporting.