For our second podcast, Rich and I were so excited to welcome Tolly Gregory to the discussion. She is a climate activist, artist and “trolling for good” enthusiast. We absolutely loved talking to her and were blown away by all she has accomplished in her 20 odd years. She is an absolute force of nature and I for one am excited to see what amazing things she is able to accomplish in 20 years more time!
Kind of like Batman she has her day job (as an artist) and goes as a climate justice activist by night, but instead of saving Gotham, she’s saving the world. Tolly has been an activist since the age of 11 and now uses her online presence to educate others. She gives the climate crisis her full attention by protesting, direct action and organising her community to action.
With her art, she will only work with clients whose values align with her own and produce stickers and animations to communicate the difficult and nuanced conversations about the climate crisis in an artistic way. The graphics, illustrations and stickers she produces have become an important part of the movement. Check out her amazing portfolio here
But as always, I could go on about our fantastic guest speakers for ages, so I encourage you to do go check out her work and now I will share the highlights from our conversation with Tolly!
(Full episode is linked below)
Why does the intention-action gap exist?
It goes back to education. We aren’t being taught the entirety of the climate crisis in schools, the media isn’t covering anything that’s not sensationalised, it’s really up to the individual to suss out exactly what is happening. We all see the odd doomsday article here and there, but without every single individual being armed with the knowledge of what’s happening, it’s so easy to slip into the gap.
Ignore the article because dying polar bears don’t apply to you. Or if you can’t be a 100% teetotal climate warrior, then it’s hard to feel like you aren’t already failing. So just that bit of education, knowing how much your meat consumption affects climate change, how to properly recycle and how events far off around the globe pretty soon won’t be far off, so educate yourself.
The IPCC report was released about humanity being in code red and people barely registered it. People, companies and governments are all pointing their fingers at each other, but it’s systemic. Change needs to happen in all three. And we all need to realise the power we hold, to come together to create change and become active global citizens.
But that is an easy blanket statement. Everyone’s situation is so nuanced and someone with a family and all the admin of life are going to have infinite more barriers to entry than someone with the career and capacity to live sustainably.
It’s complex, to say the least!
How can we work towards closing that gap?
It goes back to how we view “action”. We need to move away from this idea that it is solely consumer behaviour. We need action. We need to be more active in conversations, email our MP’s (AKA get out there and nag your MP’s!) and really bang your climate crisis drum in whatever makes the most sense for you!
An action Tolly can get behind is “trolling for good”. If we see fossil fuel companies on social media trying to greenwash their token efforts, then tear into it! Troll them. They are responsible for the mess we are in and doing that destroys their social license. If we all hate them, things will change. Don’t let the bastards win – gotta beat them at their own game.
These are all things that are easy enough to do, and they might seem a bit minor in the grand scheme of things, but shifting it away from being money-centric then it does open it up to more people. It is a lot more accessible and empowering to use your voice! Action doesn’t have to be this massive, time and money consuming thing, but all this adds up and squarely places the power with every individual.
What advice would you give someone that wants to live more sustainably?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again) that the first step is education. Do as much learning as you can, read loads of books, watch documentaries. The more you know, the easier it is to make decisions and to work out the right thing to do. Once you realise how dire the situation is, you’ll soon see that it’s just not tenable to keep going as you always have without making any changes.
Secondly, shifting away from habits ingrained in you from birth is important. You don’t need to go from 0 to 100 and darn your own clothes, but start questioning your consumption. This is a really important conversation to be had, we’re producing too much, we’re selling too much and we’re buying too much and there’s not enough emphasis on that. It doesn’t matter how many organic garments H&M have produced if they are still producing billions of garments a year – that’s a problem.
It’ll go from always using fast fashion whenever the mood strikes, to only using ASOS when they have free delivery, then sourcing ethical brands only all the way to only shopping second hand if needed and not having this urge to wear brand new clothes for every intention but really just enjoy your wardrobe for a lifetime.
It’s quite the shift from fast fashion, but it is completely possible even for all those fashion lovers!
Do you think technology can play a role in promoting reuse as well as making it easier for consumers to buy those reuse items?
Technology definitely has a role in climate solutions, but we need the speed and ambition to make significant change happen a lot quicker than it is currently. As much as I just want to be rid of all of that and go back to nature, we need to realise that technology will definitely have a powerful role in that happening. Brands will fall back on the technology to make reuse plausible, they need it. But it needs to happen quickly. Not this slow turnaround, this needed to be a focus yesterday.
A circular economy needs to be high on the agenda too, reuse is great, but completely closing that loop is better!
Another great episode for the books! We loved chatting to Tolly and if you are keen to be a part of our podcast, please do shout us a holla.
You can listen to the episode in its entirety here: