Dear Florrie, Rosa (and Greta)

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Florrie, Rosa and my Mum at the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the Tate Modern last month. Greta in the New Yorker Magazine.

On January 1st I shared a blog post, reflecting back on and saying goodbye to a decade’s worth of “side projects.” I was proud of some of them, and yet even taking into account that they weren’t the main focus of my work during the last decade ( I was involved in lots of other civic and public service work), there’s something that’s been troubling me about them. I realised that at the end of the next decade I would not be proud to show that list of projects to my nieces when they ask me — “What were you doing in the last 10 years to take responsibility for the planet, and to help us adapt to and mitigate the consequences from how previous generations lived?”

It got me thinking about how to make a commitment to them, and to account for it. This next decade is vitally important, a lot rests on it, and on our shoulders. I’ve created a spreadsheet that I am going to start using each month, and then at the end of each year, to document the actions I am taking to do what I can. I want to show this to Florrie (aged 9) and Rosa (aged 5) in 2030 and be able to look them in the eye. For me personally that will mean making changes to how much I fly, to either stopping using my car or switching to an electric vehicle, to being much less wasteful, stopping eating fish ( I haven’t eaten meat for 35 years), and taking more risk in terms of activism — there will be many other things to, and likely new and different things as the wider context changes around us in the next 10 years.

So far in the spreadsheet I have listed the following verbs, and each month I will reflect back on, and document, what I have done in relation to each of them. Of course they won’t all be relevant each month, and some things might be done gradually.

  • I cut down on….
  • I stopped doing….
  • I prevented….
  • I created….
  • I protested….
  • I let go of….
  • I found an alternative to….
  • I demonstrated….
  • I shared….
  • I initiated….
  • I showed up for…..
  • I learnt about….
  • I invested in….
  • I influenced….

If you want to do the same, the spreadsheet is here.

If you have other ideas of what to include or how to do this in a better way, I’d love to hear from you.

Also, although I have Florrie and Rosa in mind when I do this, I do care about the rest of the younger generation too and feel a huge desire to show respect to Greta Thunberg and all she’s done so far.

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