In praise of fuss

1st March 2011 by

I’m sadly prone to moaning about stuff and not getting off my behind and doing anything about it. So this month I encourage you, in fact I challenge you, to make a fuss.

You don’t necessarily have to superglue yourself to a bank to make a difference. Fuss may also be easy, fun and polite.

Sign an online petition, or, now and again, reply to a consultation and send an email to your MP. Get to know your MP, (mine is currently asking calm informed questions about carbon emissions from coal fired power stations – and getting real answers for the minister for Climate Change Charles Hendry* – get free alerts from this wonderful website ). Pat him/her on the head when s/he gets something right. Who’s a good elected representative? You are! Yes you are! Get out of your comfort zone.

When you are boycotting something, send a short note explaining you are doing so (otherwise, trust me, they won’t have a clue). Boycotts do work and they have a long history of contributing to social change. In 1791 following Parliament’s refusal to abolish slavery, a boycott led to a 30-50% drop in the sales of sugar. Shops responded by selling sugar guaranteed to have been produced by ‘free men’. Learn more here.

Or write to a company of a product or service you do use to ask them about their ethical policy – you’ll have a lot of sway as a proper consumer what gives them money and everything.

If you made a fuss and it didn’t work? Well maybe it did in an intangible way, maybe you inspired someone else to make a fuss and they did get something done, maybe you helped to create a backdrop for a more fuss-making society. As a person who I can’t remember once said; democracy is only as good as we make it.

*His mum was in our shop (at CAT) yesterday. Oh my, we did get excited. Yeah, we get all the stars here.

Revolutionary Resolutions

1st February 2010 by

According to some clever bloke on the Internet people have been making new years resolutions since 153BC. This month we challenge you to carry on the tradition and commit yourself to a green resolution.

We’ve resolved to:

  • Go to more swishing parties (that’s clothes swapping to us lay men)
  • Stop buying new clothes
  • Mend old clothes
  • Reuse water bottles and stop buying mineral water
  • Take showers inside of baths
  • Vegan it up two meals a day
  • Write more letters (to friends and MPs)
  • Protest more
  • Brave the weather and the traffic and cycle to work everyday.

And remember, if you break yours you can always start again on the Chinese or Iranian new years.

Martha sent us this resolution:

Mine is to grow my own sweet potatoes, as it is apparently quite easy and I never see any for sale from anywhere closer than Spain.

For anyone who wants to try this first buy a couple of sweet potatoes now since you need to start them nowish. Put them in an airing cupboard or somewhere else nice and warm. Leave them till about April by which time they should have produced some lovely shoots. Take these shoots off and plant them in a nice peat free seed compost, and keep them somewhere fairly warm, definitely frost free in sunlight and don’t forget to water them.

In June either plant them in a reasonable bit of soil or, as I will, in a big tub- old plastic dustbin I used last year for strawberries in my case. Peat free compost and regular feeding with some seaweed product should work fine. If you can add some home made compost all the better. Make sure the tub is well drained. Leave to grow, making sure they are weed free- if you plant them in the ground it’s good to plant them through something, maybe old carpet.

I think they are ready in August-September. When you dig them up be sure to dig deep as they grow downwards or you’ll miss a load of them, one of my reasons for planting in a big tub; I should make sure to get them all.


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