A few years ago I watched that David Attenborough documentary about climate change and it had a huge effect on me. Somehow, his words and his familiar voice really brought it home to me and it made me question everything I was doing. I went from feeling joyful and proud to have a successful business that sent things all around the world to ‘Oh my Goddd, what is the carbon footprint of sending things all around the world???’ It kind of floored me and I considered giving everything up and doing something less ‘things’ based, which broke my heart because making things brings me so much joy and it is who I am. I had lots to think about.
In 2020 I did a brilliant course with Megan Auman called Selling Without Shame (it's still running, I highly recommend it) which really helped to realise and articulate the value of what I do and see that, in her words ‘You are not part of the problem, you are part of the solution’. I mean, imagine if all artists stopped making work. What sort of world would it be? So I made a lot of changes at the time and did lots of work around the emotional durability of my products, leaning in to and celebrating the fact that they are products that people will hopefully love and treasure for many years, not just buy on a whim, following the latest trend, only to be swept aside, into landfill some time soon after.
When I was in crisis about it one customer told me she had used her lamp 2,600 (or something) times and that it had brought her joy EVERY SINGLE TIME and that I ought to not compare my beautiful product to the blight of single use plastic on the planet) but I am not happy with my plastic waste and I have trouble reconciling making my lamps AND being a force for the environment, like I am in other areas of the business. It's not a good feeling you know and niggles away on my conscience.
SO there is still so much more work to do.
This is where Making Design Circular comes in...
I’ve been following Katie Tregiddon for a while now, but I haven’t dared take the plunge into her membership programme, because even though she says, "it's about progress over perfection" I still felt I wasn’t ’eco enough’ to join. But last week I did her ’Shake of the Shoulds’ course and it really inspired me. In the membership, one of the things you do is carve out time in your week to work on our sustainability goals and I realised over the weekend that not actively moving towards being more sustainable is the thing that worries me the most out of anything so I took the plunge and joined. I’m excited and terrified but I’m ready to learn and make changes.
This lunchtime we had our first co-working session on Zoom. Everyone commits to working on 'something' towards their eco goals and we all do it together. So I used my time to get familiar with the Making Design Circular website and I filled out my profile and made my eco-confessions. And d'you know what? I didn't get lynched! In fact I was was welcomed warmly with a 'We can definitely help you sort that out'.
So I'm excited to see where this goes.