Georgette

I’ve been a journalist in Bath for more than 30 years. Time and time again people have asked why the city doesn’t have a comprehensive what’s on – also why we don’t have a ‘clashing calendar’ for people registering an event to check that it doesn’t clash with someone else’s event. I believe a website that didn’t depend on advertising (therefore compromising its content) for those who work, live and play in Bath would be so useful and much appreciated. I’d also like to see a communal eating area where workers like myself could sit and eat lunch while chatting to others. This should be with a cover and tables to allow people to mingle in all weathers while enjoying their lunch (whether bought or made at home). Let’s encourage communication!

Stacey

White British

White British means
I get to tick the ‘Top’ box

White British means
Never being Other,
Never having to consider my race, or my colour

White British means
Never having to wonder if my colour affects my chances,
Or to really question people’s answers

White British means
I am 9 times less likely to be stopped and searched,
4 times less likely to die of Covid,
5 times less likely to die in childbirth

But systematic racism doesn’t exist in this country, right?

At least, that’s what Boris tells us

Sammy

“I’m a third of a century old,

I’m female and always have been,

I’m white, I’m British, I’m straight.

I wish that was irrelevant.

My parents are together, they own their house,

I went to private school for a couple of years,

I had camping holidays in Spain as a kid.

I’m a bit overweight.

My imposter syndrome is based on my education level not my biology, the colour of my skin, my accent or my religion.

I’ve rarely felt unsafe in my life.

I’ve never had someone mispronounce my name.

I’m fairly intelligent.

I am well received and I have found my way without many barriers.

I carry guilt that my life has been easy.

It’s had a few bumps in the road but nothing I couldn’t handle. Nothing major.

I feel guilty for most things – and I apologise for them, over and over and over again. Sorry you trod on my toe, sorry we started the meeting without you when you were late, sorry you missed your bus, sorry you dog died, sorry you misunderstood me, sorry I had it easy.

2020 has been an incredible year for me.

My partner and I were both suffering with depression, burn out and anxiety.

We couldn’t and wouldn’t have stopped our world in order to check it or change it.

2020 stopped the whole world and gave us a chance to breath, to refocus, to prioritise, to take stock and to change. Our life is more balanced, our home is tidier, our relationship is better connected.

We got chickens.

My most recent reason to apologise – survivor guilt.”

Andrew

I was brought up on a fam in Yorkshire at a time when farming transitioned from traditional, often ancient, practices to something more industrial. I was about 17 when I saw the consequences. Medieval fields and hedgerows flattened, trees isolated and left to die, diversity replaced with monoculture.

I went to Herriot Watt University and Edinburgh College of Art to study Landscape Architecture. A small profession but one with potential. We are about creative solutions to ecological problems.

I moved to Bath over 30 years ago and this has been my base for exploring how we can contribute to a better world.

One thing I learned early on is that you can only do so much on your own.

One thing I learned early on is that you can only do so much on your own. You need friends and collaborators. I struck lucky in Bath as there are so many real thought leaders and practitioners all seeking ways to fight for solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

This gets to my point in that Bath is really pioneering and influential in the world of development planning and design to fight the climate and ecological emergencies. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Buro Happold and my company Grant Associates have been instrumental in establishing a new manifesto for design that seeks to reconcile our approach development with the need for a carbon neutral world full of life. Check out UK Construction Declares for more details.

I have always tried to make sure Grant Associates explores innovative ways to project the idea of people and nature and their connections. Through our work we have set new benchmarks for the way we plan and design our cities. We designed the iconic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and multiple smaller local projects. To be featured by David Attenborough’s films is probably the highlight so far.

Meanwhile the authorities of Bath are also engaged in this key issue. The Council has declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. I can also confirm many other partnerships and initiatives looking for practical ways to respond to the challenge.

I just really wanted to say this is not just about individuals being activists. Bath has a big belly full of people and organisations who want to fight climate heating and ecological destruction. We are not alone and we have a brilliant collective of energy, experience and commitment right here in the city. We can make a huge difference.

Altea

On Wednesday the 10th June 2020 I attended the Black Lives Matter Movement Peaceful Protest.  During the protest I photographed a series of still images using my 35mm Black and White celluloid film camera, indicating the emotional response of the individuals attending the march. 

The protest was incredibly inspiring, listening to many individuals’ exposure to racism was exceptionally powerful and moving. Despite the rain, a united group stood in solidarity and came together as one.

As allies who want equality and peace, it is our responsibility to make noise to demand justice, to educate ourselves, to listen but more than anything to spread love. Let’s work together to dismantle racism within our families and social circles, this means calling out bigoted thinking and white privilege on the spot, reminding people that as the world is evolving this archaic and dangerous way of thinking needs to stop.

Acknowledge the truth, racism permeates the deepest core of our society and lives are being taken because of it. Show up and listen with compassion, if you’re reading this you have already started this step, please continue to do so. I urge you to talk to love ones who may not understand, come from a place of love and initiate conversations. I urge you to use whatever platform you have, I urge you to use your voice, your ability and show up to make a difference. I urge you to educate yourself as much as possible, I urge you to sign petitions, donate if you are in a position to, contact your local MP, I urge you to make a change, stand up and fight for what is fundamentally a basic human right!

Remember, as painful as it is navigating in these unprecedented times, we are built to make it through. Remember to be tender with yourself, remember that in order to show up you need to rest, reflect and take care, please consider your boundaries and identify the difference between what you’re consuming and what’s consuming you.

A golden rule that has stuck with me throughout my life is: ‘Treat others as you wished to be treated’. This quote goes beyond simply being kind to people. Think about others the way you want to be thought of. Feel about others the way you would want others to feel about you. Speak to others the way you want to be spoken to. 

Hamish

Life in Bath and the climate & ecological crisis

I moved onto a canal boat when I was 16 to explore sustainable living in nature and community. This was the start of an ecological and spiritual awareness that has guided me into activism, land-based work and starting a permaculture market garden. 

For 2 years I travelled around permaculture farms, eco-villages and solutions-hubs, before delving into more direct political activism. This led me to co-founding Extinction Rebellion Bath, XR Bath Youth and the Bath Youth Climate Alliance (organising the climate strikes). Being arrested for Non-violent direct action has been one of the most empowering steps of my life. 

Starting my journey with solutions and active hope has given me an orientation of the problem not simply as a crisis but a potential tipping point in human history for a transformation to a regenerative culture. As my journey began with permaculture and practical sustainability, I find myself basing my action on love rather than fear – this is not to say that I do not feel the eco-anxiety, grief and fear that accompany ecological work, but that I channel these feelings into positive action in the present. 

Discovering permaculture, natural building and growing food changed my life. This is now my primary occupation, running a market garden and veg box scheme. It is inseparable from my activism, it is my direct form of creative protest to the greatest source of emissions and biodiversity loss – industrial monoculture farming. I counter this through diverse, agro-ecological growing, permaculture and regenerative agriculture.