25th October 2023 – Finding the right tribe

The journey to becoming more ecologically aware, and acting upon it, is a multi-faceted one. Sometimes it can be empowering; it feels good to do something positive. However sometimes it can feel lonely and frustrating. In these times I’m really glad for the support of friends who are on the same journey.

I’m reading an excellent book by Philippa Perry at the moment called The Book You Want Everyone You Love To Read (and maybe a few you don’t). This is newly out and can be ordered from your local bookshop. Philippa talks about how we naturally belong to groups, and like to feel we have a tribe. This feels very familiar – I certainly have a set of tribes, each of which makes me feel supported and well-loved and I am grateful for their friendship. Not all my friends are green-minded by a long shot, but I do have a number who I can talk to frankly, who are supportive and understanding about green issues.

Knowing where to find like-minded people can be a challenge in itself. Sometimes it happens organically; close friends join you in the journey, but sometimes it’s necessary to find your tribe outside of your current friendship circles. This doesn’t mean turning your back on your friends, but simply making new connections. 

The easiest way of making new friends is to join one of the many environment groups in the county; go for a beach clean with Rame Peninsula Beach Care, or to an event with the Looe Marine Conservation Group. Join in one of Saltash Environmental Action’s regular litter picks or gardening sessions, or head to the Liskerett centre on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month between 7-9pm for the South East Cornwall Extinction Rebellion’s group meeting. This is just a taster – there are groups countywide doing great things for the environment.

This is why on Saturday 28th October I am heading to Bath for a Unite to Survive day hosted by Extinction Rebellion and other environmental groups. There will be something for everyone; from a silent vigil organised by Buddhist and Christian groups, to family activities, a parade, performances, disco, speeches and art spaces. I’m looking forward to joining friends who come from west Cornwall on the train. There will be opportunity for meaningful chat, and plenty of laughter, which is always important. Everyone is welcome – it would be lovely to meet some of my Voice column readers there.

A tip for travelling to Bath by train; if you have a Devon and Cornwall railcard it is valid as far as Tiverton Parkway; using your railcard and breaking the journey at Tiverton saves nearly £30 on the standard return fare.

Finally on a tangent, Halloween is almost upon us. I have to say, living in a village, I love Halloween and find it a treat to see children coming around dressed in their finest scary outfits. However I’m not so keen on all the plastic waste that goes with it. If you have children, encourage them to make an outfit or chose something from a charity shop rather than buying something off the shelf that will end up in landfill. If you can, offer treats that don’t come too heavily packaged; small apples are surprisingly popular I find.

For friends’ children I usually make surprise buns. These are just plain buns with a surprise in the middle; usually chocolate or a cherry, but jam might be a good option for Halloween. My recipe is vegan, so super easy to make. Just throw 500g of self raising flour in a bowl with 200g of sugar, a pinch of salt, 200ml of vegetable oil, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a tablespoon of cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar will do – it reacts with the baking powder in the flour and acts as a raising agent) plus about 1/2 pint of plant based milk (to make into a smooth consistency that’s not too stiff). Fill the bun case to about half full, then put in the surprise and cover with cake mix. Cook in a medium oven for about 20 minutes, then decorate with horrible green icing.

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