Some days, when I wake up in the morning and think of all the enormous challenges which face us today, I want to just roll over and go back to sleep, to hide from it all, to pretend it isn’t happening. How can just one person make a difference when the problems are so huge that we struggle to even understand what’s happening? How can we ever hope that we can change things for the better?
However, despite this, I carry on and I go out there time and again to try and make a difference. I first joined a Greenpeace local group six years ago, and I’ve never looked back since. I hear people talk about burnout, about the dangers of throwing yourself in too deeply and getting worn down, but luckily it’s not happened to me so far.
Why is this? Am I some kind of superhuman who can just carry on when so many others find the problems facing us too much to tackle? The short answer is no, I’m not, not at all.
The answer to how I manage to carry on comes to me when I ask myself how I keep going in the face of so many unprecedented global challenges, and which require such complex solutions, is the people that I volunteer with. Some of the best friendships I’ve had have come through taking part in Greenpeace events, both in the UK and abroad, and through Greenpeace I have been introduced to some of the most fascinating people I have ever met.
This was really brought home to me last weekend, when I joined a number of other local volunteers from Edinburgh Greenpeace at the Occupy Edinburgh one year anniversary event. We had been asked to put together a short performance on the stage, which was shaped like a giant television and even had an ‘aerial’ on the top, which was a wonderful touch!
The Wednesday evening before, we met up to plan our performance at a volunteer’s house. Over several glasses of wine, we planned a range of things which we could do, from Sam singing a few songs to sketches which included ‘Why the Planet Doesn’t Need You Anyway’, an 'Extreme Weather Report', and ‘Things You Can Do With Greenpeace’.
All the props we used were things we had lying about at home or could make quickly in our free time in the few days leading up to the event, and we had no chance to practice a run-through. However, if I say so myself, the results were pretty spectacular!
It was so much fun to plan and to make happen, working together with friends old and new to put together a whole show of politically engaged comedy, information about the Arctic and even some interpretive dance! The cherry on the top was to get a text from Anna this evening saying that someone had uploaded a video available online of what we’d done, and being able to see that it wasn’t just fun for us, but actually came across to an audience really well too. The video’s included at the bottom of this blog so you can see for yourself.
Some days the problems can seem insurmountable, but this week I’ve been on top of the world. Yes, there’s a long way to go, but with friends like these by my side, I reckon we can do just about anything we set our minds to.
There are Greenpeace local groups / networks across the UK, so if you'd like to get active where you are, please visit www.greenpeace.org.uk/groups