288. Let it go!


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A couple of weeks ago I found myself stuck behind an articulated lorry that had stopped directly after a roundabout blocking the road, the road ahead was closed, but there was a clearly signposted diversion turning left. The driver was out the cab stood speaking to a car driver on the opposite side of the road. It was 8am, the roads were full of people trying to get to work on time, but I waited. After a couple of minutes the queue behind me was backed onto the roundabout and likely to a) be dangerous and b) cause serious traffic problems. So I honked the horn. This was met with what I assume, from the facial expressions and hand gestures, was anger and not particularly polite sentiments.

Clearly this guy was having a much worse day than I was, but all he needed to do was go about 50 feet and stop in a more sensible spot, I certainly didn’t feel his response was warranted: I wrote down the company name and licence plate of the lorry. As I arrived in work I decided that my current level of outrage would probably mellow and that e-mailing his employer to complain could wait until I finished work and got home that evening.

As I got out of the car that evening I looked at the note that I’d stuck by the glove compartment with the details on it… and decided to leave it there. I looked at it again the next morning… I left it there… A few days later I realised it was still there, but I wasn’t annoyed any more, I chucked the scrap of paper in the bin and let it go.

Whatever I have or haven’t achieved this year I’ve definitely become a more forgiving person. Like everyone I can be short-tempered, but I’m not a sulker; I like to let it go and move on. Since I started thinking about making the world a better place I’ve realised that when other people piss you off there’s a good chance they’re having a hideous day or under a lot of stress, so if you can let it go that’ll probably improve their day and it’ll almost definitely improve yours.

287. Looking after the oceans…


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According to the WWF:

More than 70% of the world’s surface is covered with oceans, but only 2% of that is protected.

I received an e-mail today from Greenpeace asking me to contact Princes and John West about how their tuna is caught, as despite previously making promises to change their practice they have failed to keep their word.

Their suppliers are using Fish Aggregation Devices – artificial platforms, made up of floating materials and netting. These attract all kinds of marine life, which are then scooped up indiscriminately. The unwanted ‘bycatch’, animals like sharks, turtles and rays, are then dumped overboard, dead and dying.

Back in 2011, a massive public campaign convinced them to commit to quit using these destructive FADs. But the following link leads to footage suggesting they aren’t sticking to this:


Unsurprisingly I’ve sent the e-mail asking for action from these companies.

286. Sending books abroad


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Since my planned trip to Sierra Leone was cancelled (due to the ebola virus) I’ve been in a quandary about what to do with a number of items that I’d intended to take with me. In particular I had collected a number of educational books that have been sat in a pile for months now.

I’ve discovered that a friend of a colleague will be making a trip similar to the one I’d planned (just not to anywhere affected by ebola) and that’s given me the opportunity to pass on the texts so they can benefit children in another deprived area.

285. 100% Recycled Paper!


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That’s right, my Christmas wrapping paper this year will be made from 100% recycled paper.

I really want to try and be less wasteful this year, so I’m planning ahead and have found and ordered some wrapping paper now, so I don’t just grab the nearest roll when I’m in the supermarket.


I will of course be trying to keep wrapping to the minimum and reusing paper from last year too.

284. Volunteer!


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A Christmas gift that costs nothing but gives so much: volunteering. My sister kindly forwarded the following message to me from Basingstoke Volunteer Centre:

Ever wished there was more to Christmas than bad television and too much food? Or perhaps you’re on your own this Christmas and to want to get out and meet people? Do something positive for your community and for yourself by volunteering this Christmas. It’s a great way of meeting new people, learning new skills and feeling connected to your community. This year we have “one-off” opportunities running from November until the New Year, so you can give as much or as little time as you can afford.
We send you a weekly email containing details of all the organisations that need help; you contact them and arrange to go along. If you want to stop receiving the weekly email (which will end on 19 December) just tell us!
All you have to do is contact us with your email address to be added to the list.

I’ve been on Facebook and made contact via the Basingstoke Volunteer Centre’s page, so hopefully I’ll be sent some great local opportunities. What’s available in your local area and what have you got to offer this Christmas? Apparently it’s only 11 Fridays away… ;-)

283. Stand up to cancer


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“You’re going to watch TV as your action for the day?” Asked my boyfriend incredulously. Yes, I am and I’m doing it right now: Channel 4 are joining forces with famous faces from TV, music and film in order to raise money to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments. There’s a whole evening of entertainment focused on raising funds and highlighting the need for this research.

So I’m watching it and I have of course sent a donation.

282. Blog Action Day 16th October 2014


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This year for Blog Action Day Amnesty International are asking for ‘thoughts, photos and films about inequality’. So here goes…

Inequality of education is something I feel strongly about.

As shown by the Ebola virus outbreak a lack of education can be deadly. “Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person have played a role in the transmission of Ebola. Therefore people who have died of Ebola must be handled using strong protective clothing and gloves and must be buried immediately.” Advice that would seem common sense to us, but often not known or understood by the affected communities until it was too late.

More frequently inequality of education maintains an unjust, unfair, unequal society.

Education inequality

In March 2013 the Department for International Development published the following:

More than 57 million children around the world do not go to primary school. At least 250 million children cannot read or count, even if they have spent four years in school.

Without a good education, they will be less likely to get a job and look after their families in the future. With fewer people in work and more people in need of support, they will struggle to prosper, holding their own countries back and ultimately the global economy.

High quality education can change this, helping to transform countries for the benefit of us all. Quality education helps citizens work together to create strong, open institutions and societies. An extra year of good schooling lifts a country’s yearly economic growth by 1%, making poor countries richer and, in the long run, less in need of foreign aid – and more able to trade.

Even within the UK the better educated are the highest earners and consequently maintain a system which keeps the rich wealthy and powerful whilst the poor are often disadvantaged.

During the teachers strikes I pointed out to colleagues that there were workers with worse working conditions and difficult jobs, questioning why we should be paid more than others? It wasn’t a line of questioning that made me popular and one comment was that we all worked hard to earn our degrees and teaching qualifications therefore we should be paid more. I found myself using some of our loveliest, but least able, 16 year old students as a counter argument: they would never be able to complete the level of academic study that we did, does that make them worth less? Should their quality of living always be lower due to their academic difficulties? Sadly the difficulties these students face are often a result of their own parents limited or poor education and so the cycle continues…

281. Action against animal torture


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French Connection has made the callous decision to resume its sales of angora, despite being fully informed of the fact that angora is torn from the bodies of live rabbits.

PETA Asia’s investigation into the angora wool industry shows rabbits suffer when their fur is removed. Workers rip the fur out of rabbits’ skin, causing the animals to scream in pain, or else stretch the animals out on boards, tether their legs tightly and violently shear them.

I’ve signed the petition at sumofus.org and won’t be shopping at French Connection.


280. World Food Day 16th October 2014


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Feed the world,
make it a better place
World Food Day
16 October 2014

World Food Day

Inspired by World Food Day this week I’ve visited the Greater Good’s Hunger site and made a free click: by clicking on the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button you can generate money for charity, paid for by the site’s sponsors. That’s 365 free chances each year to help fight hunger.

I’ve also shared the site’s details on my facebook page to encourage others to click.

Visit the site now to have a go yourself, I know it sounds random, but it’s free and you don’t have to enter any details: just visit the site and click.


279. Local Support & Solutions


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Whilst I was out today I saw a man, who I assume was homeless, I wanted to offer to buy him lunch, but he wasn’t begging and appeared to be resting. But it’s been bothering me that I didn’t come up with a way to help…

After a little research on the internet I discovered the Camrose Centre, a local centre whose aim is to support people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness in Basingstoke and Deane. I’ve made a donation to help them. 

They provide short-term relief in the form of food, shelter, laundering and washing facilities. Their aim is to promote fulfilling lifestyles, emotional well-being and support long-term changes for those experiencing the effects of homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill-health, poverty, domestic violence, unemployment and social isolation. They support those in need to identify and take positive steps towards change through our drop-in centre and deliver a range of support services.


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