FEATURE: Poyzer Parlay (Pt. 1)
Well we promised you an interview with Penney Poyzer, the host of the BBC's fabulous 'No Waste Like Home' and we are delighted to be able to deliver.
We have split the interview into three parts as it is quite long and even then it is still quite beefy. We did not want to ask Penney the same old questions and we wanted to give you the chance to ask some questions.
Those of you who get the City Hippy Email Alert newsletter had more time to think about what question you wanted to ask Penney of course but we got some great questions from all of you. Thanks.
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City Hippy: Hi Penney, Namaste. First of all it's great to talk to you. The series was awesome and has really raised awareness of how easy it is to be green and how significant small actions by individuals can and do matter! Well done! Our first question is: What first prompted you to be green?
Penney Poyzer: Hi City Hippy. Thanks and Namaste. Lovely to talk to you too.
Well way back me dear, when I was about 8, as a kid, I was very adventurous and went off on long bike rides, to the sea, local rivers, woods or parkland. I loved nature and remember being very young when I first got 'hooked' on the smell of apple blossom.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a very personal connection with our gorgeous, beautiful, perfumed, planet. I love her and and felt she loved me.
She has always provided me with a sense of peace and security - and joy.
City Hippy: Yeah the world is a gorgeous place when ones eyes are open. Having grown up in London I was lucky enough to spend six years in Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada and to be honest it was so beautiful that when I came back to London I realised how lucky I had been.
I felt I had undergone a profound change in my relationship to our world. But it is not always easy and there are plenty of doubters out there to sap our strength. Do you have a mantra to keep yourself focused when opposition to your beliefs threatens to overwhelm? How do you cope in the face of adversity?
Penney Poyzer: Good question. My mantra is "It's all good". It's all for a reason, it's how you deal with stuff that counts. I am blessed and joyful and enjoy a challenge!!!! And being bonkers helps.
City Hippy: Hahahaha yeah being bonkers does help eh? Gotta be able to put up with some crap I guess and just laugh it off some times. OK we have a question for you from Martin C of London.
Martin C: I am a young man earning a normal salary. I care about the state of the world but have no money to spend on organic and fairtrade shopping. How can I be green on a budget?
Penney Poyzer: Hi Martin, thanks for your question. It is about choice. A jar of fairtrade coffee or box of tea is only a few pence more than the non ethical variety. Try to avoid packaged food, try buying a few items in bulk with mates - this will help spread the cost. Cook double quantities on things like home made sauces and freeze the second half. Buy secondhand stuff, be really careful about how much gas/electricity you use. Use less stuff and do more. Transform your care into action and you will feel truly empowered - oh and get rid of the telly!
By the way I have picked you to win the signed copy of my book because I want you to see that you really can be green on a budget. You need it the most.
Martin wins a signed copy of Penney's book, 'No Waste Like Home' which accompanies the series. You can buy her book (and support City Hippy at the same time) by clicking here.
City Hippy: Awesome Penney, I contacted Martin to tell him he had won and he was over the moon...he promised me he would put some of your tips to the test and report back for the City Hippy readers.
OK another question for you. What is the single most important thing people can do to prevent climate change?
Penney Poyzer: Use less of everything and do more to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Using everything as efficiently as you can and buying locally produced food will help. Don't fly!
City Hippy: Makes sense...especially the don't fly. Planting trees does not really compensate as they take years to provide the counter-balance. People just have to get out of the flying habit. Until they find a greener way to do it of course.
OK now a question from Sarah B from Bow in East London.
Sarah B: Hi Penney, Love the show. I get a bit down about the state of the world. I try hard to be green but the news can be very disheartening. Loads of people are living ethically but is it too little too late? Do you think we have a chance to prevent global warming or is it now a case of damage limitation? What is your vision of our future?
Penney Poyzer: Hi my love. Don't Panic! ACT! We can't stop it we can only buy ourselves time by taking personal action, right here, right now and converting as many people as we can along the way.
50 years from now, well, it will be a much darker place I fear, Sarah. Cities might not be very nice places to live and London will have suffered several major floods by then. Imagine the smart streets of Chelsea and Knightsbridge under water. But Don't Panic! ACT!
Our supplies of fossil fuels - both gas and oil will be depleted in 60 years, so investing in renewables has never been so important.
Our sense of community must be built up because at the moment, there is very little social glue to hold us together.
Buying ethically is part of the plan, but by no means the answer. It is imperative to buy locally produced food, to grow as much of our own food as we can to generally reduce our consumption across every aspect of our lives. This might sound a huge task, but it is possible and leads to a greater quality of life.
We have lost so many personal skills - we are great on computers, but not so good when it comes to knowing how to be responsible for our own energy production for example.
The economist E F Schumacher, wrote a book called 'Small is beautiful'. It wasn't perfect and simplistic in some areas of argument, but his basic premise was that energy and food production should be as local a possible. Making proper use of Regional Assemblies and devolving budgets and power from central government, decreasing our reliance on centralised services such as energy and water production and digging up golf courses and turning them into allotments might be good too!
Your question is an excellent one, and it would take me a book-long answer to do it justice, so in summary, I believe global warming is irreversible and ultimately will be cataclysmic for billions. The planet is overloaded and we are already reaping the bitter harvest of our insane consumption. Each one of us much take far greater responsibility for our actions and truly learn to love our neighbours - I am not religious, but this commandment has been ringing round my head recently and it is worth meditating on. It means, treat your neighbour as you would wish to be treated. I'm trying to do that and realising it takes much more effort than recycling!
City Hippy: Wow! We are kind of aware of all that but it is nice to hear it from someone else with a lot more understanding of the issues than us. And there is hope...that is the key...I love the Don't Panic! ACT!
More to come...
Tune in to Part 2 of the interview with Penney where we discover exactly what dreams she wishes George W Bush would have and why she thinks the choice between Nuclear and Alternative energy is not the most important question to be asking about energy right now!