For Glasgow Goes Green, I was invited to come do some live mural painting at the funky warehouse setting of SWG3. Hundreds of people came to partake in workshops, learn about different projects and organisations, and listen to live music, all with a green theme.
Shared by Friends of the Earth Europe, I made this post as a playful idea that Activism is what can cure so many of the world's ailments.
Last night was an amazing turnout of over 5,000 people in Edinburgh, to march down the streets to Parliament to show that we support one another, no matter where we come from. To show that we want to resist laws that are put in place that don't support human rights. It was a beautiful way to show how quickly people can mobilise against hate. We went with our djembe drums, and walked and drummed, and then slowly gathered with the samba band, Rhythms of Resistance and created an awesome improvised set of music, energizing the crowd.
These marches were going on all over the world; the world has been feeling afraid of what is happening in America, but to get together we don't have to face it alone. So many of us care, and it's wonderful to see. Thank you all for the hope x
I painted this lady in the Women's Space at the Khora refugee community centre today. It's this one room that women have all to themselves; a safe space, for workshops, taking care of their children, or just a space to feel calm.
Today was also the day of the American presidential inauguration, a moment representing a lot of fear for a lot of us...as women, as "minorities", as migrants, and even fear for the health of our planet.
I just started reading Rebecca Solnit's "Hope in the Dark" which writes about movements throughout history that have created positive change with people power, regardless of the powers in government. That the marginalized many eventually cause change in the centre. That the few dedicated individuals who initially seem outrageous, create the new norm within a generation. (Abolishing slavery, achieving women's rights, equal marriage...)
It seems like we're at this huge crossroads...this new political leader, the refugee crisis, and climate change. I'm scared. So many are scared. But that's the exact reason why we need to keep creating the world that we want, and do nothing else. ☮
I don't want just this one room to be a safe space for women. I want every space to be one. Just as I want every country to be safe for migrants. And every piece of land to be respectfully treated for the health of our Earth. I'm going to try and do it with art. Find your niche! Keep doing it. Live the way you want the world to be.
If you're interested in humanitarian work, I really recommend volunteering for Khora in Athens! It's a lovely place, doing great things.
Love, love and more love
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Let's make the world better, creatively.
It was my goal to make some street art before the end of this year (2016). So on New Year's Eve Eve, I made myself get out of bed at 1am, and cycle to the university with a bucket of paint and a brush in my pocket. (I had a little accidental paint spill on the end of my road over some cobblestones, and therefore painted most of my bicycle and jeans in white, but it was fine.)
Because of the holidays, this area of Edinburgh was a lot less busy than normal, and it was a perfect opportunity to paint on the construction boards at Bristo Square, as it wasn't causing vandalism on any permanent property.
Luckily I bumped into two friends on the way, who kept me company while I painted, and it caused some attention from passers-by, all positive.
I shared it online, with an astoundingly good result. It was shared many times, and it was nice to think that it is living on one physical wall, but is being shared digitally through many people's photographs, reaching even more people than just the ones who will walk past.
I definitely want to create more inspirational art on construction boards, especially around the university where there is a concentration of open-minded individuals who have the chance to make a lot of change.
I drew a little doodle for Young Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Earth to share as a social post for the holidays.
I travelled to Brussels with Young Friends of the Earth early November to participate in TTIP GAME OVER ROUND 2, a platform for organisations to come together and take actions against TTIP and CETA for three days while negotiators gathered in the EU capital.
We had an art squat as our headquarters, complete with a friendly chicken called Rubana who clucked around. Two cooking cooperatives drove up to cook for us everyday, and we had a big art space for silkscreening and banner creating.
One of our actions was with EZLN where 150 of us dressed up as animals to storm the corporate lobby of Bayer and make an absolute mess before the police came. Here's a youtube video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh2qTldw1oY
Over all it was the most incredible activist experience I've had so far. All I know is that I want to participate in more of these types of events in the future. The organisation for it was incredible; to get so many people from different countries to gather for workshops, ideas, and action. I felt like my days had so much meaning. For all those times where I feel like I'm not doing enough to create the change I want, these days were an opportunity for full on activism. With so many inspiring and fantastic people.
We had a lovely party on the last night in a squat, where we gathered and watched videos of all the different actions, together in solidarity fighting to regain democracy for us all. We are a lot less powerful in terms of money or connections in high places, but the fact that we came together despite all that, we have people power, and the power of dedication and hope. At least we showed up. At least we tried to make something change, and let people know what we want. That we want a different system. That business can't go on as usual. These trade deals leave us all at stake in terms of health, social justice and environmental justice.
There might be a round 3, where we shut the city down. Stay updated! https://ttipgameover.net/blog/
Volunteering with Friends Of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links is fun!
What on earth? I ended up on the cover of a Friend's of the Earth mini magazine.
Went to a beautiful workshop last night, called EcoSattva...a Buddhist and mindfulness approach to climate change. It was exactly what I needed. It was broadcast live around the world, with hundreds of people tuning in, and a group of lovely ladies gathered in an art studio, drinking tea, surrounded by candles and warm lights. I felt so comfortable as we listened to speakers and a monk so clearly explain everything in our world that requires urgent change. The system and those in power who distract us and keep us from creating positive change are all too prevalent. There is too much injustice, too much discrimination, between all living beings on this planet. All the issues are connected, and tackling climate change is something that brings it all together in a cause that affects us all. I cried. The women around me cried. This is something that rings so true to so many souls, and it was amazing to connect with so many people who feel the same. The course is going to have workshops on how to use our immense love for the world, with a sense of urgency, compassion and responsibility and make the future positive. The winds are changing and we've got a window of opportunity to act. A small, quickly-closing window.
Beyond grateful to have gotten to attend Naomi Klein's talk at 6 Degrees TO tonight...all the tickets had been sold out but I made a sign to hold at the door asking if anyone had an extra ticket. A man stood beside me saying how hopeless it was, we wouldn't get in, but he'd stand with me anyway.
Luckily, a man came by and simply gave me a spare ticket he had, and I barely had the chance to say my thanks. I gave my ticket sign to the man who stood next to me and wished him good luck.
The talk was beautifully placed together covering a variety of issues and a future view for Canada (and the world) to quickly leap towards. Check out the Leap Manifesto! At the beginning of the talk we got to witness an Aboriginal tribe perform with singing and drumming, and at the end an adorable Syrian refugee children's choir.
At the end of the event the man I had given my sign to got into the lecture as well, and had passed on my ticket sign to another girl who also managed to get in, and pass the sign along again. We got a miniature movement going! Regardless of the hopelessness we feel, the only thing we can do is keep being determined to get to our goal in creating a sustainable world we want to live in.
With the ability to print stickers at home, it was a perfect opportunity to design them with any sort of message I wanted; and the high-end supermarket in my neighbourhood in Toronto was the target I chose to spread awareness.
Being a high-end supermarket, the consumers here have a lot more choice in terms of what they purchase; with more purchasing power, they can make decisions more easily as to what products and brands they support.
I wanted to target the meat isle, and the plastic bags that people take for fruit and veg.
For the month of August, I aimed to completely avoid buying anything with single-use plastic. Every day on my page (on facebook) I illustrated ideas on how anyone can make shopping choices that create less waste and rely on petroleum products. These are a few!
Disco Soup Edinburgh was contacted by the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival to have a stand this summer; it was my first time being an organiser of an event like this and things went soup-er. We went gleaning at Whitmuir Farm to harvest a lot of free veg, and over the three days of the festival we fed hundreds of people some good hearty soup over the fire and shared ideas of reducing food waste.
We had a squad of us hitchhiking this summer; paired into two teams we hitchhiked from Rome to a small area near Grossetto where we were doing workaway at a farm. Living in a cosy yurt, waking up early, eating breakfast with the eggs from the chickens and ducks, working in the field, meditating by the river and meeting neighbours in the countryside was the most nourishing experience.
From there we hitched up to Sienna, slept in a park full of rowdy party-goers, then to Bologna to stay with a friend, up to a suburb of Milan, down to Genova to jam with some new found friends and couchsurf in a lovely flat of a man dressed as a matador, who owned an extensive collection of manga novels and a pet tortoise. Then struggling for 6 hours to get a ride out of Genova and sleeping on a beach in Savona. From there getting a ride with a lovely Hungarian man who offered us a place to stay, and then getting a ride all along the coast of Italy towards France with a couple of dudes driving close to 100km to get to a head shop and sharing their joints with us as they kept rolling them all the way, blasting reggae with the windows down.
I've learned that it's not a good idea to hitchhike when you're in a rush. In this case, we had a bus to catch from Paris that would take us to London. And we were rushing our way through France. But I did learn how wonderful and exciting hitchhiking is, regardless of how exhausting it may be. Sure, there were some rides that weren't all that memorable. A lot of times you forget about that part of the journey and don't remember the faces of who gave you a lift, you might not even talk much. But the fact that people are so open and willing to lend a hand to a stranger without receiving anything in return is a beautiful experience. And, on the whole, the rides we get are with such interesting and lovely people.
Besides meeting fabulous people, and traveling for free, hitchhiking is also fantastic for its environmental benefits. There isn't any extra carbon being emitted for your transport. These people are traveling regardless, cars on the motorway are so often driven by just one person, with so many empty seats in the car. Hitchhiking reduces more people taking the bus or driving themselves. Bonus!
So I briefly thought I had come up with a revolutionary term, until I googled it and discovered that a wikipedia page already existed on the subject. Artivism. Yet, I'm so happy that it's a thing! Activism through art. "...a focus on raising social, environmental and technical awareness." I'm incredibly hyper with excitement because this is kind of exactly what I would like to focus on; art and illustration with a purpose, especially in environmental activism. People enjoy looking at little illustrations, and if those drawings can create more awareness for something, all the better!
This is my little doodle to get more people involved in the climate march next weekend. Join one in your cityyyyyyyy! x
Jack Harries shared this illustration to his 2.8 million followers...so happy to be able to create an environmental illustration that can be used to send the message to so many!
Latest thought, illustrated.
Hearing more and more about mycelium lately; a friend of mine is especially interested in it and it's such an incredible, and mysterious structure to learn about. Mycelium is a whole network of fungi that lives under the soil, many times ending as mushrooms or toadstools. It connects all plants living together in a certain area, and sometimes the networks are so huge, they can span thousands of acres. It's also thought that if some plants or trees are in need of more oxygen, other trees will send oxygen to each other, through the network of mycelium.
It's like nature's very own internet! A beautiful, co-existing, secret network that we need to learn more about, and not just out of fascination. Types of mushrooms can be used to breakdown harmful plastics and even harmful chemicals in both the ground and water. Gotta unearth the magic of these little guys to work with us to fix many environmental wrongs we've created.