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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Motivating the mainstream – Joanna Yarrow to speak at Green Monday, 3rd December

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Joanna Yarrow will be taking part in a panel discussion on ‘motivating the mainstream’ at the next Green Monday event, which is taking place in London on 3rd December. Green Monday’s are evening events that explore issues around innovation and sustainability. You can apply to attend here.

Event overview:

Do you believe the mainstream holds the key to a sustainable future? Is it only through engaging and motivating them en-masse we create the commercial impetus to deliver new business-models?

Or, will it be through visionary leadership and new ways of thinking that we deliver change? After all, the internet was created by the vision of a few, and then adopted by the mainstream because it offered a better world.

For this special end-of-year debate, we explore four very different schools-of-thought.

Steven Kotler (via Video-link from the US) – Steven and his partner, Peter Diamandis, caused a storm when they published “Abundance” earlier this year, arguing we have the ingenuity to overcome climate change and population growth.

Joanna Yarrow – Consumers need to experience a sustainable world for them to want it. An expert in making green living attractive, Joanna will share learnings from her BBC3′s Outrageous Wasters series, the Ariel 30 campaign, and her work with Unilever.

John Elkington – From 0 to 100: The Power of Stretch Thinking. One of the gurus of sustainability will explore what can be achieved with stretch targets, and how breakthroughs come from a relatively small group in society rather than the mainstream.

Dr. Michael Braungart – The co-creator of Cradle to Cradle thinking, Michael will explain why closed loop thinking is redefining business models, and helping companies to find advantage from thinking differently. Responding will be two people who have an unparalleled understanding of current mainstream opinion.

David Aaronovitch – Author, Tweeter and Columnist for The Times

Greg Nugent – Brand, Marketing & Culture Director for the London 2012 Olympics


Seeing the wood for the trees? Joanna Yarrow at the Royal Forestry Society Annual conference

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This is post is written by Joanna Yarrow, Founding Director of Beyond Green

Last month I joined experts from across the forestry and woodlands industry at a conference organised by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to look at new ways of valuing the UK’s woodlands and forests.

I’m a relative newcomer to the world of forestry (as a child growing up in a wood I made the most of the outdoor life but studiously avoided anything to do with the technicalities of trees…) and felt particularly out of place as the only person in the room not wearing tweed. There were plenty of in-depth expositions about how to best to calculate the price of a tree. Not much consensus, but some nice scene-setting from Natural Capitalism: “while there may be no ‘right’ way to value a forest, a river or a child, the wrong way is to give it no value at all”.

As perhaps some lighter relief amidst the learned arboriculture, I talked about what we’re up to at Beyond Green’s sister organisation Wilderness Wood in East Sussex. In contrast to the vast tracts of land available to many of the landowners present, we’ve got just 62 acres where we juggle the many challenges of combining award-winning productive forestry with the highs and lows of inspiring and engaging visitors in sustainable living.

When my parents applied for planning permission to build a home in the wood 30 years ago the planning authority questioned the feasibility of two people earning a living wage from managing just 62 acres of woodland. Whilst there’s certainly been no gold-rush in the UK’s forestry industry, 3 decades on we employ 12+ full time equivalent staff plus a number of seasonal contractors. The key is diversity – we juggle a combination of woodland management, production of firewood, poles & fencing, furniture and garden products with education, family activities & events, courses, delicious local seasonal food & drink and more. All under a guiding ethos of balancing ecological, social and economic performance.

In recognition of its approach to forestry and the diversity of its activities, in 2010 the wood won the RFS Excellence in Forestry Award. Last year the BBC Politics Show visited. They wanted to use us as a case study showing how the ‘private sector’ could be a positive force in running woodlands (so therefore no need to worry about that sell-off of national forests everyone was squeaking about). In my interview on the show I pointed out that unless there’s a large and untapped mass of values-driven committed plate-spinners out there just desperate to run woodlands in the way we do it’s very unlikely that market forces alone would result in Wilderness Woods springing up across the country! (But if you are one of those types do please get in touch…!)

So when the good tweedy folk of the RFS beamingly said how nice it was to see us having such fun in the wood I had to point out that if any of them was contemplating doing something similar they should be prepared to feel like this at the end of every day:

One last thought: if forests are as important to the whole nation as last year’s uprising against the government’s proposals to sell of national forests suggested, it would be great if the RFS could attract a slightly more diverse audience:


How to do eco in style

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In this blog prepared to mark the 10 year anniversary of the inspirational Eden project, green living expert Joanna Yarrow shares her top ten tips for a stylish and ethical lifestyle.

View the article on the telegraph’s website here, and click here to see some more of the guest birthday blogs and other shenanigans from Eden!


Joanna Yarrow at Wilderness Wood: an opportunity to branch out

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In the latest article linking Joanna, Wilderness Wood and the big forest debate she appeared in the Sunday Times Home section.

Click the link below to read the story.

Joanna Yarrow in Sunday Times Magazine Home Section


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! 


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