I set up beethechangeblog in summer 2019 in order to tell the stories of what happens when ordinary people do extraordinary things.
When they act according to the truth of what the science is telling us about our climate and environmental crisis.
I did it because I wanted to tell the stories of those individuals and communities where change is happening, even if to our simple human eye it may appear too slow, or too small, to make an impact.
I found that as a newcomer to the campaigning scene, so much good seemed to be happening that was going untold.
It occurred to me that there was a need to shine a light on what’s happening under our noses, in the streets and villages and towns and cities where we live.
And at the same time celebrate the natural world with which we’re trying to reconnect; to redefine our role no longer as exploiters, nor even as ‘protectors’ – but as ‘equals’ within it, just one, ‘conscious’, part of a single living whole.
The blog looks for stories of people, projects and issues – mainly in the Greater Manchester area or beyond in the wider North of England, but not exclusively.
And it’s a place where I will share my own personal journey, wrestling with this great environmental crisis that will either be our species’ finest hour, or our greatest shame.
In summary – I’m a writer / activist who spent 30 years in media, predominantly digital and broadcast, before a mid-life career change brought me to environmental campaigning ((I wrote about that transition here).
I stopped writing professionally more than 12 years ago, and back then it was as a sports journalist, and even then for many years I was more of an editor and a manager, than a writer.
But as I’ve found myself a learner again, learning about our climate and environmental crisis – from the science to the societal cost, from the physics of the carbon cycle to the psychology of behavior change, and there seems to much to say and share, I have been drawn to return to the craft that I love.
Over those 30 years, I acquired a hotchpotch of skills and experience …. and am now learning how I can best use them to help the great challenges we face.
This blog – a way to try and distill useful, inspiring or interesting things I come across – seemed like one of them.
The sorts of things I do:
Writer – I’m an NCTJ-trained journalist and award-winning writer. I write features, news articles, poems, letters, plays (that last one is a work in progress in my head only still!).
Facilitator – I’m an experienced facilitator, well practiced in facilitating large or small group meetings and workshops. Each one is co-designed to fit the group and issue at hand. I work with a variety of campaign groups, large and small.
Organiser – I get stuck into what ever needs doing and help volunteer groups get stuff done. I’m a jack-of-all-trades and like rolling my sleeves up to learn new skills and make things happen. I am the original ‘busy person’ that you’re supposed to ask ‘if you want something done’…
Speaker – I’m an experienced public speaker who can bring topics to life for audiences and can use a variety of techniques to make for a more interactive session. I speak about ideas, about change, about how to engage audiences whether it’s with climate change or other diverse topics. (I used to be terrified of it but I did a fantastic course and along the way learnt that I was more scared of not saying what I wanted to say).
Coach – I am a BBC-trained life coach and use different approaches to help individuals and groups find ways to overcome internal barriers and ‘stuck stories’ that can get in the way of them growing as individuals and teams. (I came to coaching when I went through a tricky spell at work and found it a brilliant way to help me change some stuck behaviours and thinking).
Strategic thinker – I have a way of seeing ‘the big picture’ (sorry, yuk phrase) and helping teams and groups figure out what it is we’re trying to do, why and who for, and how best to get there. I’ve helped devise strategies for many diverse projects and challenges, from launching a grass roots walking and cycling campaign in Greater Manchester (WalkRide Greater Manchester) to launching a project to help primary school kids navigate the digital world (Own It) , to heading up the BBC’s Olympic sports coverage in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics .
Media and communications consultant – I’ve many years experience launching digital services (websites, streaming, apps, games) for a variety of audiences at the BBC and delivered many large projects such as the L2012 Olympics. I joined the BBC as the start of its digital transformation in the late 90s and worked with teams in BBC News, BBC Sport and BBC Children’s to help make it a world leader in digital content and services.
I taught myself WordPress and Mailchimp to set up this website & newsletter 😁