Video: Joanna Yarrow speaking at Green Monday

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At the recent Green Mondays event on Motivating the Mainstream Beyond Green Director Joanna Yarrow set out seven lessons learnt from working with organisations, places and people (she was only given seven minutes, otherwise there would’ve been many more…)

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Beyond Green Living’s looking for new talent

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Beyond Green Living: Communications and Research Executive  

Do you have a passion for sustainability and a knack for getting the word out? Can you find out new things fast and use that knowledge to inspire people to try out different ways of living?

We’re looking for someone to help us make change happen by delivering systematic and professional communications services to Beyond Green Living and across the whole Beyond Green Group.

Beyond Green is a pioneering interdisciplinary sustainability company. We work across sectors, delivering strategic consultancy projects, designing and producing our own sustainable developments as well as a range of practical and applied communications projects. All our works focuses on answering the question ‘how shall we live?’

This is a fantastic if demanding opportunity for a rising star of the communications industry who wants to deepen their knowledge and fast-track their interest in and passion for sustainability.

Read more here: BGL communications and research executive


a valentine gift from Beyond Green Living

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Show your sweetheart how much you care – for them and the planet – with our top tips for helpless ‘environmentics’: 

 1.    Choose locally grown flowers: 55 million roses are sold worldwide on Valentine’s day, but only c.10% of those are grown in the UK. Avoid unnecessary flower miles and minimise pollution by buying locally grown blooms. Wiggly Wigglers sell beautiful British-grown seasonal bouquets from £25 and Scilly Flowers  sell flowers from the Isles of Scilly. If you want fancy flowers from further afield make sure the farmers growing them get a fair deal by choosing Fairtrade bouquets. Waitrose has a good selection. Or for something even simpler pick your own bouquet of spring catkins and pussy willow.

 2.   Indulge in chocolates with a clean conscience: We eat a hefty 600 000 tonnes of chocolate each Valentine’s day. Low wages, poor working conditions and heavy pesticide use can make chocolate tough on more than your waistline. For delicious guilt-free treats try yummy Fairtrade Divine chocolate, organic Green & Blacks, or for something really exotic the Organic Seed and Bean company’s Chilli or Mandarin and Ginger chocolate.

 3.   Enjoy a romantic ramble: After all that chocolate a walk in the fresh air is the perfect way to top up on endorphins and stimulate your appetite(s!). Now the days are getting longer there’s time to explore the miles of trails at Wilderness Wood (a sister company to Beyond Green Living), with plenty of romantic spots to enjoy en route.  

4.   Beguile your lover with natural scents: 95% of the chemicals used in perfume manufacture are derived from petroleum, and only about 20% of the synthetic ingredients have been tested for their toxicity. There are safer alternatives; start by checking perfume labels, and look for alternatives from certified organic perfumes carrying the Ecocert mark.

 5.    Don’t stop there… Whether you say it with a card (25% of seasonal cards are sent over Valentines), with a ring (10% of people get engaged on February 14th) or with a romantic meal (we waste over 5 million tonnes of food every year), there’s always a greener alternative. Recycled cards (or make your own), fairly traded jewellery and restaurants with the Sustainable Restaurant Association certification are great places to start showing how much you care. 

Enjoy your special day! 


And the key to happiness is…..

Attention.

It’s all about attention, and the allocation of this scarce resource both voluntarily and involutarily.

That’s it. Or at least that was the conclusion that Professor Paul Dolan came to at Tuesday’s lecture at the LSE.

We really enjoyed his talk; he gave a humerous, thorough, and cleaver insight into happiness science and sociology at the same time as bringing the conversation back to the one big question on our minds; how do you go about measuring the happiness of the population.

You can listen to his lecture here.


The Happiness of Pursuit

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We’ve been thinking a lot about happiness here at Beyond Green since the UK government announced its plan to measure national wellbeing.

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the things we’ve read/listened to/attended lately.

An interesting radio program by the BBC’s Claudia Hammond featuring interviews with Martin Seligman (of Positive Psychology fame), Dr. Anthony Seldon, head of the Wellington College who developed a curriculum devoted to Wellbeing education, author Julian Baggini, and Felicia Huppert from the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge University. It seems there are a few important things that make us happy: perspective, resilience and purpose. As Dr. Huppert said, “It’s not about the pursuit of happiness, but the happiness of pursuit.”

Last week’s debate at the LSE chaired by the BBC’s Mark Easton (who published this story in 2006 on happiness,) highlighted several arguments to consider as the UK government gets on with measuring happiness.

Here’s a couple thoughts we came up with during the debate:

  • Happiness or wellbeing is tough to measure, and anything we do will undoubtedly be flawed, but that doesn’t mean we won’t give it a good try
  • GDP is hopelessly flawed too, but at the moment it’s the best thing we’ve got going and it allows us to measure and compare economic growth over time and around the world which we all agree is helpful
  • Happiness is important and by measuring it we legitimize it and make it something we can work toward without having to apologize for being softheaded
  • The flip side of happiness is misery and that’s pretty easy to measure – bad things like psychological morbidity (suicide), crime and unemployment all have real measures and real impact. Measuring changes in these could also be an indicator in changes in levels of happiness.

Laura Stoll from the New Economics Foundation wrote this informative article that gives a really great background of the issue and the ongoing initiative by the UK government.

Also, don’t miss the launch of the new film The Economics of Happiness on Tuesday Feb 8.

Have a very happy weekend!


The forest debate looks to Wilderness Wood

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As the nationwide debate on the governments consultation to privatise swathes of public forest hots up, many local and national news publications are looking to Wilderness Wood, a sister company to Beyond Green Living, to investigate how privately run forests can be run in a sustainable way whilst still guaranteeing public access to this precious resource.

Click this link to view the latest article published in The Argus, Thursday 3 February 2011


Joanna Yarrow speaks on the big woodland debate

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Beyond Green Founder Joanna Yarrow spoke yesterday on the government’s controversial plans to sell off much of the Forestry Commission’s woodland from her home at Wilderness Wood, an award winning sustainably managed 62 acre woodland in East Sussex.  The  team from the BBC’s the Daily Politics Show came down to the wood to film the shot (sadly a rather damp day with the Wood!) and discuss with Joanna the merits and challenges of private woodland ownership. 

Watch the short clip here  


The wellbeing economics debate continues…

Economics of Happiness

A new film The Economics of Happiness by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick & John Page puts a new spin on the wellbeing economics debate by looking through the lens of localism.  The film features  experts from six continents including New Economics Foundation fellow Andrew Simms, and  Zac Goldsmith, conservative MP from Richmond Park and North Kingston.

In her article on CSRWire, Francesca Rehannon writes about the films position that “our spiritual satisfaction, our sense of security, our joy, derive from our deep connections with others and our natural environment. It also states globalization destroys security by undermining community, subordinating local connections to the dictates of distant profits and creating dissatisfaction by replacing local cultures with consumer culture.”

Interest in the subject has grown since Nobel economists Josef Stiglitz and Amartya Sen published a report commissioned by French President Nicolas Sarkozy which asserts that GDP as a measure of growth (and therefore success and therefore happiness?) is incomplete.  In November of last year, the UK government announced  a plan to measure happiness in an attempt to guide government policy, and have asked the Office of National Statistics to develop questions to effectively assess the nation’s well-being. The New Economics Foundation, which has done extensive work on National Accounts of Wellbeing, is on the advisory forum for the ONS programme, and also serves as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics.

Join the debate on  Thursday 27 Jan at 6:30pm, by clicking here to sign-up for a free event at the LSE sponsored by the Office of National Statistics to discuss “whether a measure of happiness is enough to capture the well-being of our nation and what other measures should be taken into account.”

Click here for information on the London launch event for The Economics of Happiness on February 8, or here for a screening on Sunday Sep 13.

Does anyone know if  they’re talking about wellbeing economics in Davos?



Setting the scene for the Better Buildings Partnership

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Opening the Better Building Partnership’s Annual Forum, Joanna gave a keynote speech to some of London’s most prominent landlords and occupiers. Her brief was to set the scene on sustainability in the built environment, and inspire the group to work together to develop sustainability solutions in the commercial property market. Let’s hope inspiration was duly received…  More about the event


“Common sense is no longer common”

Despite being highly educated and financially literate, we have inadvertently created a powerful class that ‘are more dangerous than a half educated’ one; deskilled to the extent that we can no longer ‘grow food, make clothes or build houses’. ‘Common sense is no longer common’ to our species, and we have become nothing more than ‘instruments of making profit’. ‘What is our education for?’ asked Satish Kumar to a small but attentive audience at the LSE on Tuesday evening.

The lecture that Celia attended was entitled ‘Sustainability living in practise’, yet the first thing Kumar did was denounce the term as ‘overused, misused and abused’. He suggested instead that ‘resilience’ might more useful to describe what we are collectively working towards at the moment; resilience as a whole species in the face of peak resource use, environmental harm and climate change.  He emphasised that humans are as much nature as anything else, and that ‘what we do to nature we do to ourselves’. Whilst the economy is traditionally seen as separate from ecology, Kumar argued that we must fundamentally redefine this in recognition of our position and relationship with the ecological system in which we are a part. First and foremost, he suggested, we should get back to the land (whilst 61m people eat food in this country, only 2% work on the land), start producing our own food and the LSE should change its name to the London School of Ecology and Economics!

A podcast of Satish Kumar’s lecture is available to download here