You are important. Everyone can help.
This place is our place, the hills and lanes and woods and street corners, the mills, churchyards and commons, the springs and the pubs. We live, work, play or learn here. We’re proud of it. We love it. And we’re worried about its future.
It’s what we mean when we talk about #aThousandActions
To those of you who are already trying, join us and share your skills, knowledge and experience. Take your efforts to the next level and make a difference in our communities.
To those of you who want to do something, but aren’t sure how or what or whether even if it’s too late to do anything at all, it’s not too late, we can make our mark, join us and we’ll show you how.
To those of you that aren’t convinced, talk to us anyway, we want to hear from you. We’re here for everyone in the communities around the Commons, a local voice that understands local life. We want to reach the sustainable future that best fits with our lives here, and not be handed one off a shelf.
Why not you?
So there’s this story I heard when I was in college that’s stayed with me ever since, and it’s the story of Erasto Bartholomeo Mpemba, a 13-year-old schoolboy in 1960s Tanzania who noticed what’s since become called the Mpemba effect.
(It’s that hot liquids freeze more quickly than cool liquids, and still hasn’t been convincingly explained.)
It’s not the details of what he saw that stick with me so much as the circumstances: a schoolboy in up-country Africa, in the 60s, who was making ice cream (and being impatient about it) noticed a thing that no-one else was noticing, not all the Cold War rocket scientists nor the frowny-browed decipherers of DNA because, like a spherical Earth, it seems silly until you see it.
He asked ‘why is this so’, and when he asked it he was told he was wrong by his teacher, because I guess he was the schoolboy Erasto Mpemba and not the venerated Isaac Newton with whose theory of cooling his observation disagreed. (Despite Newton himself disagreeing with Aristotle, who knew of the effect, but was an ancient Greek, so didn’t have calculus or microscopes.)
Erasto was disbelieved and mocked, and when he moved up a school asked his question again, and again was disbelieved and mocked. Actually ridiculed.
But Erasto knew he’d seen what he’d seen, and he knew he wasn’t the only one who’d seen it because he’d talked with ice-cream sellers who noticed the same thing, who weren’t aware that Newton was telling them they were wrong, so when this new set of professors wouldn’t listen, he set out to prove to them he was right, and was so successful at it that in 1969 he ended up writing an article about it for the science journal Physics Education.
So my point here, and there is a point, is that someone always has to be the first to see a thing or know a thing, and often it’ll be someone who doesn’t know that they’re not supposed to be seeing the thing that actually they are. And someone has to be the first to stand up for that thing to people who for whatever reason don’t yet believe it.
There’s no reason why that can’t be you.
Over fifty years later, in 2018, 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg became famous for speaking truth to power, for being brave and committed, and for holding fast in the face of ridicule from some of the most influential and powerful people on the planet.
And there is no reason why that can’t be you.