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Engineer, project manager & sustainability advocate. I blog about how individuals can live a more sustainable life.

A confession, an announcement and a promise

Photo and graphics: author

I have a confession to make.

Over the last year, my sustainability journey stalled. Single-use plastic multiplied, food waste increased. I’ve taken more shortcuts. We’ve eaten more meat and less local produce.

The main reason is that my partner and I underwent IVF treatment. Plastic increased because, as we shielded, our grocery options narrowed, particularly during lockdowns. Food waste increased as nausea and diet changes made meal planning difficult, at times impossible. As the toll of balancing IVF with life in the pandemic became more intense, exhaustion made lazy and unsustainable choices more appealing¹. …


It’s not straightforward

Graphics: author

I took cultural intelligence training yesterday. One of the videos shared tackled an age-old question: “where are you from?” It got me thinking about my own answers to this question, but I’m not sure what it really means anymore¹.

As in the video, I’m a white guy in a country where I don’t need to consider this question much at all (in this case the UK). Recent debates around nationalism and identity have made me think about it more.

I consider myself from England, specifically from the Westcountry, but according to my DNA, none of me is “English”. I lean…


Exploring an expert mindset and what a lack of specialism means in my professional career

Graphics: author

During my leadership studies, I learned I have an “expert” mindset. I place a high value on my knowledge, taking pride in what I know and wanting to use it to help others. I value learning and the advancement of knowledge.

The expert mindset also has a negative side; I can get offended if others don’t value my knowledge, particularly if my perceived specialisms are ignored. I can obsess about the subject of my knowledge¹, ignoring the bigger picture. I can be condescending and impatient with people who “don’t get it” ² ³.

I don’t consider myself an expert in…


An important first

Graphics: author

“It’s my first day at school!” said the young boy proudly. “He’s very excited,” said his mother. The boy went on to list all of his recent activities, happily and without consideration that he talked to a stranger.

The exchange filled me with joy. Excitement that hadn’t been toned down by social anxiety, embarrassment, or just regular Britishness. A desire to share how awesome his life was at that time simply because sharing nice things is fun.

I can hardly imagine an adult doing the same thing, animatedly declaring “It’s my first day at work!” in the same fashion. …


Helping you to plan climate and sustainability action in September

Welcome to my monthly overview of the Sustainability Calendar. The full year-long calendar is here. Scroll down for the full list of events this month.

Graphics: author

Everything happening in September 2021

All month: Organic September in the UK

Wednesday, 1 September: Japan Dolphins Day, to raise awareness of and protest against the Taiji dolphin hunt

Saturday, 4 September (first Saturday of September): International Vulture Awareness Day

Sunday, 5 September: Amazon Day (International), to drive awareness of the threats to the Amazon biome

Tuesday, 7 September: International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

Thursday, 16 September: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Friday…


Helping you to plan climate and sustainability action in July

Graphics: author

Welcome to my monthly overview of the Sustainability Calendar. The full year-long calendar is here. Scroll down for the full list of events in June.

Summary

July is, of course, Plastic Free July, an international awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of single-use plastics and to help people find alternatives. I’ve written plenty before about how I have reduced my own use of single-use plastics, particularly focussing on food and groceries and toiletries and cleaning products.

This year, I’m planning to take my actions wider, and focus more on the activism aspects: how can we lobby governments and businesses to make…


Thoughts about a milestone unreached

Photo & graphics: author

Yesterday would have been my mum’s 60th birthday. Lately, I visit the cemetery more often, and I’ve thought a lot about mum becoming a grandmother.

Sadly, she never met a grandchild, but I think it’s great that she enabled me to be here now, awaiting my first child.

I’ll admit I’m amused by how long it has taken me to get here and wonder if she ever considered she would be sixty before she would have a grandchild, particularly given how young she was when she made me¹.

Did she ever think about someday becoming a grandmother? …


And why is cycling important for sustainability?

Welcome to the Sustainability Calendar blog, aimed at introducing you to events on the calendar, explaining why they are important to sustainability, and giving you resources for further information and how to get involved. Today, Bike Week!

Graphics: author; SDG graphics: UN

Introduction

Bike Week highlights the many benefits of cycling, from the obvious health and physical well-being benefits to mental well-being, community, social and environmental benefits. It is organised by Cycling UK and it takes place every June; in 2021 the dates are Sunday, 30 May to Saturday, 5 June.

From a sustainability perspective, cycling is important because it enables us to reduce journeys based…


Helping you to plan climate and sustainability action in June

Graphics: author

Welcome to my monthly overview of the Sustainability Calendar. The full year-long calendar is here. Scroll down for the full list of events in June.

Summary

June is the home of a couple of big events: World Environment Day on Saturday, 5th June, followed closely by World Ocean Day on Tuesday, 8th June. Both remind us of the importance of our environments and the roles they play in supporting all life on Earth.

Also, this month is one of the biggest events for a while, the G7 Summit, to be held at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, UK. The hosts, the UK…


Helping you to plan climate and sustainability action in May

Graphics: author

Welcome to my monthly overview of the Sustainability Calendar. The full year-long calendar can be found here. Scroll to the end of this post for the full list of events in May.

Highlights

Endangered Species Day and International Day for Biological Diversity

These two are inextricably linked: lose species, and biodiversity is impacted; similarly, declines in biological diversity can cause species to become endangered if food sources are compromised or habitats destroyed. In the worst case these changes can cause extinctions.

Kevin Jones

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