News stories about the climate crisis have been pretty sobering this year, but it wasn’t Dry January that took the limelight for South London Cares, but a ‘Green month’ choc-a-bloc full of environmental fun. Everyone mucked in by bringing their own mugs and sampling the oat milk on offer (which received rave reviews):
"It's alright you know, I think I'm gonna have another one!" Yvonne (71)
Terry and Vidya kicked off the decade in style with a New Year's Scavenger Hunt celebrating the Greta Thunbergs of the world and those green champs who’ve made strides to positively affect the way we treat our planet. Neighbours pulled together to build a positivi-tree with intentions for 2020: Danielle pledged to wear and repair old clothing while Malcolm manifested for Villa to win the premiership. Let's see how that goes…
Dina and Valerie kissed goodbye to plastic bags as they proudly printed their very own tote bags at craft club in Stockwell. Here they are ready to rock their responsible shopping!
Running with the month’s matter, Ron and the gang got together to take part in The Great Green Quiz. Can you believe the UK uses 38.5 million single-use plastic bottle every day? Neither could Mary! “Gosh I’ve learnt a lot tonight. We’ve all got to do our bit.”
It was a packet of ‘bee-friendly’ seeds for the caped crusaders, who took the top spot with their undeniable climate knowledge.
Our first trip of the year took Poona and Lenka to Pipoca Brixton – Brixton’s first zero-waste store and vegan créperie where owner, Claudia, introduced the gang to the world of ‘bamboo toothbrushes’ and ‘plastic-free kitchen scrubbies’. The concept of the mooncup left Pat (81) and Frances (98) in fits of giggles but the vegan croquettes were 'scrumptious' and the talk on the 5 Rs of sustainability (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Rot, Refuse) ‘rather instructive and easy to do.'
Next up was a trip to The Remakery where Saffina and Diego spent the afternoon breathing new life into materials intended for landfill at a Recycled Wood Workshop: “You should never waste nothin’. This is exactly how it should be.”
It was Maggie’s first go on a saw, and with Lianna’s help – there was nothing holding her back: “I own three saws and this is the first time I’ve ever dared hold one.” Go’on Maggie!
We weren’t sure how we were going to weave the month’s ‘green theme’ into our monthly dance class, but lo and behold, Ben, a master in ‘Dance Ecology’, taught Bola and the gang how to connect to the environment through the form of dance. “The moves that come up when you’re not restricted to a routine are amazing.” They sure are... look at that lot go!
The revelries continued throughout the month with an Environmental Choir led by Strawberry Thieves, a screening of the legendary David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’, an eco-poetry session led by superstar volunteer Kat and a ‘Memorable Places' theme for our monthly Desert Island Discs, which could’ve catapulted us anywhere in the world, but we ended up in Waterloo. Ah, Abba...
Penultimately, Caroline and Mustafa headed to the ‘jewel’ of South – Streatham Community Gardens – and learnt that you don’t need a big old garden (do they exist in London?) to start growing your own food. Seeds were sown and everyone headed home prepped and ready to grow their own Window Ledge Veg:
“I might give this food-growing business a go actually. I didn’t realise it was this easy.” Hazel (81)
Last but certainly not least, those feeling a little cloudy about all of this environment malarkey took part in a ‘Climate Action Workshop’ led by Emily and Charlie from Friends of the Earth – Lambeth, over a glass of wine and a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll. Instead of focusing on the doom-and-gloom, the spotlight was on sharing positive stories happening around us. Our golden take-home nugget:
“If you live by what you believe to be right, despite what’s going on around you, you have the power to inspire others to do so too”.
There's more wisdom where that came from... read all about the evening in Charlie's 'Finding Hope with South London Cares' blog.
And there you have it – who said January was the worst month of the year... Why start the year blue, when you can start it green?
Posted by Olivia Broomfield on Friday 7th February 2020
Olivia designs and delivers Social Clubs across Southwark and Lambeth. Previously, she worked at an SEN school in Swiss Cottage, before a stint teaching English in Madrid. You'll find her Pub Quizzing, Desert Island Disco'ing and trying her hand at Latin Dancing.