Cycle into Summer 2012

5th December 2011 by

Do you want to make the world a better place next summer? Silly question, here’s your chance to become part of a sustainable mobile community…

Join one of Otesha’s fifth birthday summer cycle tours! Pedal across the UK visiting schools and youth clubs, organic farms, fascinating sustainability projects and plenty more. Join an inspirational team of other volunteers, excited to share and learn anything and everything about environmental and social sustainability. Get skilled up in everything from bike maintenance to consensus decision making and learn lots about sustainable and group living.

This year we’ve got three thrilling tours on offer, and a few firsts in the world of Otesha cycle tours. I suppose you want to know what the firsts are don’t you? Well, we have:

  • our first ever food-themed, three-week cycle tour
  • our first ever cycle tour performance of the Otesha play in London
  • a tour for anyone over 18!

And now you probably want to know where and when we’re going, don’t you?

Six week performing, workshop-delivering, wondrous cycle tours (age 18-28):

  • Totally Coastal …does what it says on the tin! This tour will stick close to the picturesque coastline of south-east England. Pedalling across lowlands and up and down small hills, the team will be heading to the heart of East Anglia before venturing into London for our cycle tour debut in the capital, and a grand finale performance! (15th June – 28th July)
  • Western Quest Whiz around the west on your bicycle this summer.  Starting in south Wales, this tour will pedal a wee way north into England and then back south through the rolling hills of Somerset and Devon before meeting the pirates of Penzance. (10th August – 22nd September)

Three-week, food-themed, workshop-delivering, volunteering and learning extravaganza (age 18+):

  • Tastetastic! Lick your lips and get in gear for our first ever food tour. Tantalise your taste buds on our Tastetastic! tour as you pedal across southern Scotland for three weeks exploring food sustainability. (4th – 25th August)

If you’re 18+  and passionate about creating a sustainable future, then we’d love you to ride with us. It’s first come first served, so apply early if you want to guarantee a place.

Watch this space for tales from our cycle tour alumni. In the meantime follow the links on this blog to find out lots more on our website.

If you have any questions or would just like to have a chat about the tours, then give us a call on 020 7377 2109 or email We always love to hear from you.

Power and privilege

18th November 2011 by

Otesha is going to be at the NUS’s Student Activism 2011 conference tomorrow at Goldsmith’s University. Below is a post I wrote for their blog explaining the workshop we’ll be giving. It’s a subject the Otesha team is thinking a lot about at the moment, so I’m sure we’ll have more to say about it here in the nearish future.

Our ‘Power and Privilege’ workshop is likely to be one of the most personally challenging events at Student Activism 2011 – both for the participants and for us. It can be an intense but also intensely rewarding experience. How do we know? Not just because we’ve delivered it many times but because we’ve been challenged by it ourselves when we have taken part as participants.

Based on the principles of anti-oppression, it aims to make visible many of the often invisible, structural imbalances of power and privilege in society and to confront our own biases and prejudices – even those of us who strive hard to avoid exercising such bias in our selves and our own lives and relationships.

And it shows that, while we may strive hard to avoid exercising prejudice, some of us are privileged by societal norms and structures, no matter whether we are committed to fighting privilege. Prejudice is not, as one writer has said, only ‘individual acts of meanness’ but something much more all-pervasive.

Having these issues laid bare is, we think, essential to activist communities and groups who genuinely want to make their work and their movements inclusive and diverse, and to ensure that everyone has access and everyone has a voice.

And for Otesha, as an environmental education charity, we see it as essential to addressing environmental injustice whereby the ravages of environmental destruction hit the poorest and marginalised the hardest. Ensuring that all voices, perspectives and needs are heard and respected is crucial to environmental justice, and anti-oppression work can do much to work towards this. Whether your work has an environmental, social, or economic focus (though at Otesha we don’t think they can be separated!), these questions are crucial to successful, effective activism.

So this Saturday participants in our workshop will engage in personal reflection, get training in how to improve individual practices and conclude with practical action planning. This introductory workshop is meant to give participants the tools to embark on an ongoing process of change, and begin to build a more just society and stronger environmental and social movements. We hope you find it stimulating, thought-provoking and that you can make it integral to your campaigns.

If you’re interested in learning more about anti-oppression work and thinking, here are some really thought-provoking resources:

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