Friday, 9 August 2013

How to be an activist without getting arrested

Yesterday I flew back into the UK after 10 days in Sri Lanka. This morning I was wide awake at 05:45. The story of the trip will be told over the next few posts, but for now I'm lacking the willpower to trawl through an SD card full of photos. So instead, here is a fairly shameless plug for an old university friend of mine.

Ruth is a freelance journalist who, among other things, specialises in social and environmental issues and occasionally flirts with travel writing (and, for those interested, has managed to combine all three of these things on her Ethical Travel blog). She is a very nice person, and in the last few days she has released an e-book called "The Armchair Activist's Handbook".

I've been quite excited about this for a while because - quite apart from the reflected glory of being able to tell people that one of my old coursemates has actually used her English degree, and TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN TEACHING (this is very rare) - I am a person who would love to do more (i.e. something) to change the world for the better but doesn't really like the idea of chaining myself to railings, or dropping ill-considered fire extinguishers onto policemen's heads. And there's that "work" thing that takes up all the interesting bits of the day.

It occurs to me that readers of this blog - nature loving, mortgage/rent paying lot that you are - will probably empathise with this, and might also be quite interested in the concept of "Armchair Activism". The book is split into 10 sections, from food, to clothing, to the exploitation of natural resources, and each section contains a few different case studies describing the things ordinary people have done to help make their little corner of the world a better place (my favourite might just be guerilla gardening, and there's a spot at the end of my road that's crying out for it. Watch this space). It's inspiring, and there's almost certainly something in there that's within your power, even if it's just picking nettles for soup.

I think you'll agree that at £1.59, this book is quite clearly priced to raise awareness rather than to make money, and that awareness is something that's all too sadly lacking in the population at large at the moment. You can read the introduction and the first chapter on Amazon by clicking to look inside the book; I really enjoyed it, so take a wander over, have a read and see what you think.


Right, enough of the non-bird related material. Next stop: Sri Lanka Part 1 - Negombo

Striated Heron - Negombo, Sri Lanka

The author of this blog reserves the right to have picked out the best photo in the collection to advertise this next post in order to make it look like all his photos are this interesting, and will not be held responsible for any crushing disappointment that may follow as a result.

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