In a recent blog, I mentioned three women who inspired me, Poly Higgins, Clare Dakin and Scilla Elworthy. However they are not the only women who have given me a longing to make a difference to the world.
Jay Griffiths has written a book called Wild that is one of the most influential books I have read and I can’t recommend it highly enough though it is a difficult read at times. Jay has travelled the world meeting indigenous people’s and living in harmony with the Earth, experiencing the beauty and fragility of life as well as the ugly desecration of nature by corporate greed. Her writing is powerful, potent and hard-hitting as well as poetic and inspirational. Underlying her story telling is a courage to go to extremely remote wild places on her own, facing challenging climates and people. What comes through is her capacity and willingness to show her vulnerability. Without the ability to listen and be vulnerable she wouldn’t have earned the trust of many of the people she writes about, nor would she have seen all nature’s beauty as it is only when we are open-hearted that we are connected enough to really feel the intense, achingly beautiful and painful sights of the world. And behind all this is a passion for life in all its wildness. Her book has the potential to make a difference to those who read it and possibly to those she has written about.
Another woman who is making a difference is Jenny Jones, Green councillor on the GLA. Jenny was elected in 200 and has worked with both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. Although the greens are a minority party in terms of representation on the council, their influence has been disproportionately large. Jenny has sat on a wide range of committees such as Metropolitan Police Committee and the Firebrigade as well as London Food. In all her work she champions the cause of green issues. In the previous Mayoral administration she was the Mayor’s Green Transport Advisor, advising him on sustainable forms of transport. She was also Chair of London Food, a Mayoral body looking at ways of giving Londoners fresher, healthier and more affordable food while minimising its environmental impact. Jenny is changing public perceptions in London to seeing that sustainability makes a positive impact on people’s lives as well as being better for the planet. Jenny is standing for mayor in the elections this Spring against the usual strong opposition of the main political parties. The fact that she is unlikely to win the election is not a reason to give up on supporting Jenny. The more votes she gets the more the Green Party has to be taken seriously. I don’t live in London but I would urge any London voter with a Green conscience to vote for her. Jenny spent a year as Deputy Mayor to Ken and could fulfill the role again in the future, bringing more sustainable policies into action. Jenny has great passion, wisdom and integrity and we desperately need more politicians like her.
Behind these inspiring women are not only motivational hopes and dreams of a better world, but courage to stand up in front of people and say ‘this is what we must do’. They have the courage to take action and carry out their intentions despite hardship, failure and derision. At a time when we badly need more people doing this, I wonder what stops me and others from doing the same. There is courage in everyone’s heart if we look.