Saturday, 14 January 2017

Happiness Championing....

Recently Bristol organisation Happy City, published a list of 25 people working in the city who they describe as their Happiness Champions. It's an extraordinary list, filled with people who are making change within communities in the city and I feel a bit of a fraud being in it, albeit thrilled that I am. 
Of course people who know me are seeing an irony in this!! My main reasons for doing what I do are fury, disappointment and sadness at the state of all sorts of things.
Why don't schools offer horticulture as a viable career?
Why are we allowing the skills of growing and gardening to disappear?
Social injustice.
Food poverty and food waste.
Climate change.
Etc, etc, etc. The list is endless.
Most of my days are spent in conversations around change and inevitably where change is needed there is an issue in the first place. Be it anti social behaviour, poor design or use of public space, communities feeling they are voiceless, these are real issues that we are tackling through making positive change by making gardens. And it's working.
And it's this positive, gentle change that tackles lost and unloved spaces and turns them from embarrassing eyesore to a place of community pride, and in turn leads to increased community cohesion, resilience and eventually happiness.
So I guess being a champion for happiness means also being a champion for people, for communities, for gardens, for social justice, food and wealth equality, for the environment, for horticulture and more. And that, I think, means continuing to be furious, to demand change and to support people, gardens and horticulture in the city and beyond. 
My own feeling is that what we need is a kinder future that acknowledges the small changes and the power of those changes across communities both in Bristol and the UK. Happiness needs to be at the centre of all of this, rather than wealth or growth, and is made through grassroots action rather than government decision making, be that local or national. So I'm going to carry on supporting that change to kindness......
If you'd like to know more about the other Hapoiness Champions here's a link......


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