Episode #113  The Whispers of a New World: Stepping into a different future with Tamsin Omond, activist and visionary

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How can we shape our culture to be one where everyone thrives? How can we write our new stories where everyone is heroic? How can we connect to the world of spirit in ways that include everyone? With Tamsin Omond, climate activist, strategist, organiser and visionary.

Since dropping banners against Heathrow Airport’s third runway from the roof of the Houses of Parliament, Tamsin has consistently shifted public conversation on the climate and ecological emergency.

They have organised a number of high profile protests, co-founded a Suffragette inspired environmental campaign – Climate Rush, coordinated (the successful) Save England’s Forests coalition, founded a CIC – The Momentum Project – that mobilises the community surrounding London City Airport, led global corporate campaigns as Head of Global Campaigns at Lush Cosmetics and been a founding member of Extinction Rebellion.

In 2021 Tamsin stood for co-leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales. They are also active in queer uprising; a theatre maker and the author of two books – RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist and Do Earth: Healing Strategies for Humankind.

In this episode, we explore the nature of activism and how it is evolving; how to create community from the ground up, based on Tamsin’s experiences in East London, amongst others, and how we can shape a world where the transactional, zero-sum nature of our current system is no longer the driving force.

In Conversation

Manda: My guest today is Tamsin Omond. As you’ll hear, Tamsin’s been a climate activist for nearly two decades. Since dropping banners against Heathrow Airport’s third runway from the roof of the Houses of Parliament, Tamsin has consistently shifted public conversation on the climate and ecological emergency. They’ve organised all kinds of high profile protests, co-founded a suffragette inspired environmental campaign. Set up a community interest company that mobilised the community surrounding London City Airport. Led global corporate campaigns as head of global campaigns at Lush and been a founding member of Extinction Rebellion. Last year, 2021, Tamsin stood for Co leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales. They’re also the author of two books, Rush! The Making of a Climate Activist and the most recent that came out late last year: Do Earth: Healing Strategies for Humankind. I thoroughly recommend both of them. And I’ll have a bit of an offer at the end when we’re done. So hang around and you’ll get it. In the meantime, people of the podcast, please welcome Tamsin Omond.

 Manda: So Tamsin Omond welcome to the Accidental Gods podcast on this glorious late winter morning. Are you in London or are you in Scotland just now? Because you divide your time… I always thought that was a very wonderful thing to do.

 Tamsin: Hey, Manda So good to be here. Thank you for inviting me. Right now, I’m sat in East London, in the Olympic borough of Newham. I live in Forest Gate, so I’m just sat in my little terraced house. I’ve just come back from a run, feeling pretty good.

 Manda: Enjoying the whole urban life of an Olympic borough. I guess it became the Olympic borough in 2012. That’s amazing. Did it make a big impact? This is nothing to do with Accidental Gods. I’m just curious.

 Tamsin: You know what? I think Newham actually is to do with Accidental Gods. Newham is like it’s the most diverse borough in London. It’s also the poorest borough in London, the most polluted. And as ever, you know, environmental hazards get kind of dumped on communities of colour and working-class communities. And so it’s like this strange mix of the reality of what Newham has always been, which is a kind of working-class culture. Super, you know, so many different people here, different cultures. And then this kind of intrusion of the desire, a kind of place building that the Olympics brought. And the Olympics very definitely wants to regenerate the borough and make it more like Hackney. And it’s been really interesting to kind of live through that. And yeah, kind of to watch the different versions of, you know, how we’re going to live in a city as we approach various limitations, kind of play out through this borough. I think it’s one of the most iconic sites of struggle in the UK, which is probably why I put myself here.

 Manda: Yes. Yes, right at the heart of it. That’s so interesting. I am desperately trying to find someone to speak to regenerative cities for Thrutopia, actually. So maybe we need to come back to that in a bit. Because I’m remembering, my brother’s a geologist, and it took him to point out to me that the east of every city in Britain is the one where the bad stuff happens. Because the prevailing winds are from the West. And they blew all the pollution, during all the industrial era, went from the West, which stayed nice and bright and beautiful to the east, which was then smogged. And presumably still is. Did it change a lot when we had the whole car reduction? Has that made a difference to air pollution?

 Tamsin: I mean, I don’t think so. I think in this area, it’s the thing where you can kind of have, yeah, I don’t know if they’re planning to follow a policy of car reduction. Like at the moment, there’s this desire to build a new tunnel underneath the Thames. So a new river crossing. And instead of building a river crossing that would enable walkers, cyclists, public transport, they’re building the Silvertown tunnel, which is going to be, you know, a new tunnel for cars. Which has been proven time and again to just increase traffic. Like it doesn’t… Their arguments are, oh, well, this is going to ease traffic. So there’s other tunnels from the Dartmouth tunnel and it’s like, No, no, no, if you put another tunnel in, more cars come. That’s how it works with roads.

 Manda: Yeah, it’s like you build bigger motorways, more cars take the motorways. This is the old definition of madness; doing the same thing time after time and expecting a different result.

 Tamsin: Exactly.

 Manda: And you have to think somewhere along the line. They don’t really expect a different result. They just expect people to believe what they say

 Tamsin: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I dream of a time when there’s a green mayor of London and you know, this idea of regenerative cities, which feels like it shouldn’t be that far away. Every single party is kind of haemorrhaging support in the capital apart from the Greens. And I think, you know, at that point, just to have a leader in such a powerful position who is open to the ideas of regenerative city building, would be so exciting. And I think for Newham, I actually did a project with with the New Economics Foundation around London City Airport. And London City Airport is this small airport that serves the very rich. It’s literally for the city. The most flights going out of it are going to Geneva. They’re going to those places in Europe where money is just being exchanged. And we did this project where we just imagined what it would do for the local community, if you got rid of that airport and used that land, which is, you know, beautiful docklands; to build community, to build a residential area, to build the things that a community needs to flourish. To put a library in and to put, you know, whatever it might be. Instead of just pursuing this like, you know, this version of growth or this model of growth that is supporting the one percent at the cost to everybody who lives around that airport, who’s breathing the air from those planes.

 Manda: Yeah. Not to mention the carbon load that’s coming from it anyway. And when you did that project, we’ll come back in a little while to how you happened to be with the new economics foundation and why your interested in the greens. No it’s good. It’s great. Let’s just keep going. Because did the project create the kind of tangible data that if we had someone whose job didn’t depend on them ignoring you, was able to listen, Would they have had actionable plot points of what to do besides shut the airport? Did you create that kind of data for them?

 Tamsin: Yeah, absolutely. I think if there were enlightened leadership in City Hall, then we would have seen them take this and be like, Oh my gosh, we can do something that’s good for the community, good for business, the sort of business that nourishes a community, good for London and also shut down an airport that is increasingly completely, you know, it shouldn’t be there. It’s in the wrong place anyway, because there shouldn’t be an airport right in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world. That’s completely insane. And when we did that, the Green Party hadn’t come out for or against the airport at that point. They were against the expansion of it, but they hadn’t come out strongly saying, we need to get rid of the airport. And once we did that project and we showed them; these are the policy points that you could create; that’s the pathway that you would take – not just removing the airport, but what you’d set up in its place that would deliver all of these good outcomes. The Green Party did take it up as as their policy on their policy agenda and were campaigning for it during the mayoral elections.

 Tamsin: Because it’s such an ambitious project, you know it really just does the thing of saying ‘this bad thing, you know, we must get rid of it. But actually, what can we do in its place?’ Which I think is what so many of us are struggling to understand. Is OK, right, we understand we don’t want this version of capitalism. We understand that we don’t want to keep extracting from the planet. And yet this is the reality that we’ve all been moulded by. And so what on earth do we do to step away from it? And I think, yeah, like more and more we  – like thank God for the new economics foundation doing they’re number crunching – the things that you know, us creatives might be less good at kind of wrapping our heads around. We can do the imagination and then them coming in and actually making it like a very robust report that you can wave at various policy makers, is incredibly helpful.

 Manda: Yeah, it is if they actually took any notice, which clearly they don’t. But they do on occasion. So let’s take a step back because you just said ‘us creators’, but you were in new economic foundation doing the number crunching. So let’s situate people in Tamsin and how you get to be the person who’s talking with authority about what the Green Party does, who’s been in the heart of the New Economics Foundation and yet has the vision to see beyond the existing paradigm. Which is kind of a unique combination. So walk us through the edited highlights of how you got to be also the person who wrote Do Earth and all of the other things that you’ve done.

 Tamsin: Yeah, where to begin? There are so many different places to start from, and I guess there’s, you know, as storytellers, each different version of where we begin will tell a different story about who I am and how I got to doing this. And I think right now I have less of a clear sense of like a really brilliant story to tell about myself than I’ve ever had. Because in some ways I am looking at the current situation; where our movements have brought us; where we’re standing after the pandemic or like towards the end of the pandemic or whatever it meant or in the midst of multiple pandemics. And I think so many of us are kind of figuring out who am I? How do I make sense of myself in a world where so much is unstable and where so many of the assumptions on which I built my identity are shaken or shaking? And I also feel that. And I think, you know, I used to have a really great story about like Tamsin, The Activist. And it would begin at the climate camp outside Heathrow Airport in 2008 or 2007 it was actually. And it would kind of have a wonderful narrative arc to it.

 Tamsin: And I was standing on the top of the Houses of Parliament, dropping banners against the third runway at Heathrow. And then I’d move into Climate Rush, which was organising women as climate suffragettes, and we were taking action to push the COP, which is which is a big meeting that happens every year, an international meeting to kind of sort out Climate change. Obviously it hasn’t worked yet. All of the governments of the world go along and so do the fossil fuel industries. And, you know, I  always talk about that and how we were climate suffragettes and doing all of this like really cool actions and reclaiming that radical, rebellious kind of feminist principles. And then go into, I don’t know, talking about anti-fracking and the activism there. And and then maybe I’d finish with with this recent standing for the Green Party as a co-leader of the Green Party and and trying to align. Oh, actually, no, because I couldn’t miss out Extinction Rebellion! That would be… Sorry. Don’t skip over Extinction Rebellion, one of the most successful movements that I’ve been a part of. And you know, my part in kind of establishing that movement. But yeah, in some ways I’m like, OK, that’s great. Activism is really, really important. But I really want to know what the programme for Change is.

 Tamsin: I spent my whole life trying to raise the alarm around climate and trying lots of clever, different ways of doing it. Focussing on specific issues, whether it was fracking or airport expansion or whatever it might be. Using different methods, whether it was, you know, I worked in business as the what did they call it? The head of campaigns for Lush. I worked as a funder, kind of giving funds to different parts of the movement. So especially around the anti-fracking movement. You know, delivering hundreds of thousands of pounds in small donations: £10000 pots to different anti-fracking sites. And now I’m like, OK, so we’ve kind of said what we don’t want and I really want to understand what the thing is that we do want. And I want to understand it, you know? Again, it’s like this ambitious thing. I want the ambitious model of it. Like, I want to believe that there is something that can come and robustly stand up to the current system. And I know that’s kind of not how change happens in some ways.

 Manda: I don’t know though…

 Tamsin: Yes. Tell me. Reassure me, please.

 Manda: Yeah, totally. Because you’ve done a brilliant, edited bio. I would still like to look back at NEF at some point, and the Green Party in a bit more detail and in different countries. But definitely. So from my perspective as the other end of an age scale, possibly. But I look at every version of change that our culture has created and I had this put into a lot of perspective by David Graeber and David Wengrow’s book. You know, it’s very rarely do I read a book that changes stuff. Most books create a little incremental shift or a little expansion of awareness, or they fill in a data point that helps join all the dots together. This opened a whole new door to a realisation of how short a time frame we tend to look within and how narrow a cultural environment we take to be the way things are. Because our culture has been the one that has managed to destroy a lot of the other cultures. But it doesn’t mean that they were bad cultures or that they didn’t function in a way that was actually really good and that ours happens to be the utterly dysfunctional child in the family who then manages to create total chaos. But even looking back within our own system, the people who managed to affect change, did so by creating a vision of what that change would look like, as much as they did by getting in the way. By throwing spanners in the various works of cogs that were supposed to flow smoothly.

 Manda: And so what I’ve seen with Extinction Rebellion particularly, is that it’s managed to throw spanners in the works in a way that has got people listening much, much more. And then the next stage is to offer the vision. Because, the general mass of people, when I speak to people who aren’t activists… I just go down the local shop and there was a day last autumn, must have been near COP where even the Daily Mail had a front cover talking about climate change. My god, you know, Hell has frozen over! What is happening? And I spoke to the lovely ladies in the shop and said, You know, who all read The Mail, and said, Oh look, climate change. And they, to a woman, actually did the physical move that took them (I’m not going to be away from the microphone), but they turned away, put up their hands and said, ‘We don’t want to think about it’. So. They don’t want to think about it because the entire narrative, the whole time I’ve been growing up and therefore the whole time you’ve been growing up has been. Our world is going to get much, much, much, much worse. Our standard of living is going frankly to be worse than you could ever possibly imagine. And we’re going to hate it, and that’s the only possible option.

 Manda: And surprisingly enough, nobody runs for that. They would rather not think about it until it actually arrives. And even then, they’d probably rather assume that it’s only going to be temporary. This is one of the things that I think COVID has really taught us. Because you don’t need to know much virology to know that this is now with us. It’s not going away. Coronaviruses are what Coronaviruses are. And it doesn’t matter where we think it came from. And it doesn’t matter really what we think its broader purpose is, if you’re part of that group. It’s just here. And yet our entire instinct has been to get it over with as fast as possible and get back to business as usual. Which is not going to happen. This is business as usual. And so, even as our culture and climate and civilisation slides down into destitution, we’re going to keep harking back to the better point that we think we can get to.

 Manda: I was very struck. I read a critique of Vote Leave and their decision. They were working with the focus groups and they were working, particularly with focus groups of people who didn’t normally vote to find out what motivated them. And they found out that almost universally these were older people, and they had a vision of a time in their past when they had more of a sense of control. And that was when the slogan changed from ‘Gain control’ to ‘Bring back control’. And so we need to give people a sense of agency, I think. And a sense of a future that feels like they would want to get to it. And you and I, I believe, still exist in a reality where that is possible. And if it isn’t possible, it won’t be because we didn’t try. I think that’s my default. Is that it may be too late, but I am going to give every fibre of my being to creating visions of a future that even the ladies in the village shop will go, ‘Oh, OK, that’s all right. We could do that and it would be good and fun. And it’s a world that is better’. Because the other thing that’s happening in the village shop – this is the only place I have conversations now with people who are not part of my kind of bubble. I say to people who ten years ago if I’d said, Look, guys, we just need a revolution. And it has to be peaceful, but we just need to get rid of the current lot. They are useless and find a whole new way of doing things. And I haven’t met anyone in the last three months who hasn’t gone ‘yep, You’re right’. And that’s new. So now I’ll stop talking. Over to you, because I genuinely think, OK, one last thing, which is the whole ‘we only need three and a half percent’. And I see where those numbers come from. But at no previous point has any of that been calling for a complete systemic change. It’s been calling for an increase in the franchise. You know, we would like black people to not be slaves and to be allowed to vote. We’d like women to actually be given a vote in the way that their futures happen. Not changing the trajectory of capitalism. We’re just expanding the pool of people who can vaguely make decisions. And this is different. And I think we need a lot more than three and a half percent. I think we need tipping points, which is probably more like 30 or 40 percent. So over to Tamsin, how are we going to make this happen?

 Tamsin: I love this. I love thinking about how this moment is distinctive from other moments that have required great uprisings of people to push forward progressive change. And just this idea that, you know, we’re standing on the cusp of something that actually could bring together that 30 or 40 percent of people that you’re talking about, into a conversation that would look like nothing that had ever happened before. Because we’re not just asking for enfranchisement. As you say, we’re not asking to extend the rights of, you know, a quite broken system to include more people and only include them, you know, yes, within the kind of rules of the game that already exists. We’re actually, by necessity, having to rethink the rules of the game. And yeah, as you say, like recognising that those rules were only ever going to serve a model of a society that, you know, that extracts from everything really. Extracts from the planet, that extracts from labour, that extracts from the people, marginalised people, who are more available to extract from. And so yes, it’s like, you know, that’s the kind of silver lining in this. Or, you know, the kind of whisper of another world or like many other worlds that that might be sitting on the horizon somewhere and that we can kind of walk towards. That we are in a ‘once in a species’ moment. You know, it’s not like a ‘once in a generation’ or ‘once in a lifetime’, whatever. It’s like, OK, we’ve got one planet and we’ve taken it to this point, where are we going to go next? Because there’s no way we can carry on going the way that we’ve gone.

 Tamsin: And I guess there’s something quite, you know, I don’t know whether it’s hopeful or just like it’s a fact. That we can’t carry on going the way that we’ve gone, and it means that we are going to do something different. And I guess in terms of agency, it’s like we are going to want to have some control over the way that we go next, the path that we take next. Because if we don’t, then we’re leaving it up to who knows? Like the people that have always had power. Some unelected billionaires who are going to, you know, just just direct it in whatever way suits them. So I’m kind of intrigued about explaining that to those people in your village shop and to the kind of increasing awareness from all demographics, all people. That the systems in place aren’t serving us. And you know, even the smallest end of that stick is, like the thinnest end of that wedge, is Party gate. You know, these these things will keep happening and they’ll keep happening with more frequency. And we’ll kind of, you know, have more and more righteous indignation, which is such a powerful energy. But it’s also an energy that can go off piste into anger, frustration, despair. And what we need to do as organisers is gather that righteous indignation and move it forward. You know, figure out what the progressive pathways are for that to actually fuel systemic change.

 Tamsin: And in some ways, that’s like, let’s create space’s where we can have these conversations. And let’s enable people to have the language to have that whole discussion in Extinction Rebellion around the third demand, which was about citizens assemblies. It’s just such an important one because it’s like, where are we going to figure this out if we don’t figure it out together? How can we start having those conversations if the structures aren’t in place around us for us to gather together and talk? And not just talk on our opinions, but actually have a sense of what the facts are, be educated, be humble to the fact that we don’t know everything and some people know more than us. And then figure out what to do with that knowledge. And there are examples all around the world of citizens assemblies pulling together and setting forth a very progressive agenda for change. Because actually, when you trust normal people, ordinary people, they just want the common sense thing that gives health and enriches them and their communities.

 Tamsin: I’ll just say on this. I feel quite encouraged speaking to you, I guess. There’s this quote by Rebecca Solnit, I’ll just paraphrase it. But it’s kind of about the idea that what we’re saying at the beginning, around stories and around grand narratives and like all of these needs for a grand narrative, for things to kind of make sense in that way that actually David Graeber, I guess in his book, which I haven’t read, that latest book that you were talking about would probably pull the plug on that. You know, the grand narratives kind of serve the particular system that we’re in. It’s like, ‘Oh, well, this makes sense from this understanding of the world’, but a different understanding of the world or a different way of doing things, would have very different stories about who the heroes were, where the where the climax was. And I guess, yeah, this Rebecca Solnit quote goes something like, you know, we have this idea that we’re going towards a destination, that it’s going to be the end of the world or that it’s going to be this glorious utopia. And it’s not like that. You know, it’s a tangled pathway and every single step we take is complicated. And there are however many billion people doing their complicated steps, but that what we can do is that we can show up and we can just try and take the best steps that we can take and acknowledge that where that’s going to lead is just somewhere else. It’s not the perfect situation or the absolute cataclysmic destruction. And within that we can be, you know, I guess this is me saying this. We will find moments of extraordinary humanity; when we’re really blessed by the people who are acting alongside us from this extraordinary context and really showing those qualities that kind of redeem humanity. The courage, the humility, the love that makes being human not so bad when you know, it makes us proud, in fact.

 Manda: Yes. And it’s that sense of pride, I think, in being human and being part of a collective that’s working to something that feels enriching. And I was talking to Natalie Nahai on a podcast a couple of weeks ago, and we came across the idea of psychological safety. And I think that if we could create a future which had that sense of psychological safety and enrichment and co-creation. We don’t have to create a utopia. I think it’s quite important that we understand that we’re not, but we do have to create a vision of a world that is motivated by things. Not just say capitalism is broken. I do a lot of animal training, dog and horse training and positive reinforcement, and one of the key things when you sit down with someone and you go, OK, you know, why are you here? What are we doing? And you get this long list of ‘I don’t want my dog to jump up on strangers as soon as I open the door’, you know, OK, that’s the list of ‘nots’. In order to train your dog, we have to decide what we want it to do and go for that. You know, I would like it to lie quietly on its bed, being really happy and feeling relaxed whenever somebody comes to the door. Because then it’s not jumping on them. It’s cool.

 Manda: It’s very hard to train a ‘not’. He can’t reinforce it for not jumping on somebody, because it doesn’t know what you’re doing. And I think it’s the same with whole cultures. We can’t just keep telling people capitalism is broken and it’s a disaster and we’re all in it. And yes, it’s horrible. We all think it’s horrible. Imagine even the people at the top think it’s horrible. They just haven’t got…COP really showed us… There wasn’t a single person standing on any platform that I heard at COP, who had a vision of anything other than, ‘well, we just need to burn less fossil fuels. And that’s going to be hard, but we need to do it and and we’ll all make a lot of money doing the other thing, whatever the other thing is’. And it’s crap. Sorry, that probably just didn’t lose us anything, so that’s OK. We need to have the visions and they need to be things that your heart goes ‘Yes, that!’

 Manda: That sense of I will feel good waking up in the morning reaching for this, and it will be hard. But hard is fine. I think people don’t mind hard. Lots of people do very hard things as a sport. I used to climb rocks. We were talking about it the weekend. You get halfway up and you think, ‘Oh my goodness, why did I not just pick ballet or, I don’t know, throwing darts? Why am I doing this? This is insane. And you get to the top and you make that last hole, which is usually the really difficult one and you get over the top and ‘Yes, I did it! And it was amazing and I feel so good!’ And so hard is fine, when you can see even a little bit of the climb and complexity.

 Manda: So what I’m wondering is with your… You’ve been deep in XR. You’ve also worked for the New Economics Foundation, which is all about… My looking at the outside from it… Finding ways of tweaking the current system. Whereas XR is much more about the current system not working, let’s envision a new system. If you and I were to be part of a little mini citizens assembly, just us, and bounce ideas. What would be your kind of envelope for a step towards that regenerative, flourishing beautiful system that our hearts know is possible?

 Tamsin: Oh, Manda, it’s just such a gorgeous way of framing this question. Yes, I like to imagine. I think I will take this from our conversation: of kind of imagining chats with friends as mini citizens assemblies. It’s really it’s a good one. And yeah, I do talk about this at length. I mean, it’s actually not a very lengthy book, so it probably isn’t at length in my book, of kind of what are the steps towards building community really? And how can we show up to the work of community without bringing the worst of ourselves in some ways? Which I think is a really big job. Especially because we’ve all been conditioned by this super individualism and, you know, wanting and needing so much affirmation all of the time and then feeling impoverished when we have to give it to other people and we don’t get it back. You know so much of how, for me at least, I’ve been conditioned to see everything as a transaction. Like it’s all transactional. Which is kind of the opposite of the kind of service led communities that would be, you know, a big desire to begin to kind of form the structures of, or the structures that would allow those to exist if we were doing recommendations from our citizens assembly.

 Tamsin: I guess, yeah, I’ll just tell you a little bit. I think it bridges lots of different conversations about who I am and and how I’ve arrived at different things, is talking, as we did at the beginning about London City Airport and how I’ve related to that. Because I came at it very much as wanting to stop London City Airport from expanding. That was the, you know, the vision was a ‘no’. So I guess that was me wanting the dog to not chase the postman or whatever. And it’s like, right, we’ve got to stop London City Airport from expanding. And to do that, we need to organise protests. I lived on the other side of London at that time. I lived in Kilburn, so every weekend I’d go to the community around London City Airport and knock on doors and try and get people to come out and protest. And tried to get the whole of the Green Movement interested in protesting London City Airport. And it was really like a ‘let’s protest this airport’. And what I found was, doing that, was that the airport was not very high up on the agenda of the people who lived around the airport. There were many other things that were troubling them, before you even pointed towards the airport. Things like unemployment, drugs, crime. You know, the fact that the airport in some ways was a symptom of the fact that there wasn’t a strong community there, to resist the growth of that airport. And the fact that there wasn’t a strong community there was because people were really poor and they had loads of other things to worry about.

 Tamsin: There were many single parent families; getting food on the table, having a diet that wasn’t based around like the kind of the food desert that was their local neighbourhood. And that was such a useful wake up call moment for me as a kind of thrusting young white environmentalist being like, ‘I know what we need to do. We need to go to communities and get them to oppose the things that I think they shouldn’t like’. And instead, I got involved in a kind of community project in the streets around London City Airport and that’s, you know, eventually when I moved to Newham. Was because of what we were building there. Which was really a different vision. It was about holding space for conversations about what we wanted there, rather than what we didn’t want there. And it was absolutely exquisite, really, the experience of being part of that community. It’s one of the things that nourishes my soul, still. Just the memory of it makes me beam on a cellular level. Because it was really great and it was fun. And I was getting to know people and feeling like I was part of something in a way that I had never really felt before and feeling so deeply proud of the work that we were doing.

 Tamsin: And these strange things would happen from it, things that we couldn’t have predicted. If you don’t want something, you can kind of predict the outcome of your campaign, if it’s successful, is that you won’t get that thing. But for us, every week we’d hold space in a community centre where.. And this community centre, you know, they were just like, ‘You’ve got to come here, we’ve seen you out in the streets, we’ve seen you like organising. We’ve seen you knocking on doors like we’ve haven’t seen anything like this forever. Like, please come and take space in our community centre’. So we’d hold these meetings on a weekly basis and all of the mums from the neighbourhood would come and they’d bring their kids. And there was just a limitation to what could be achieved when you had loads of kids in the room, because it was chaotic and brilliant, but also chaotic. And so this young woman who who’d just graduated, who just finished school and wanted to be a musician, said, ‘You know what? OK, you know what I’ll do is I’ll take the kids off to a different room in the community centre and we’ll start a choir’.

 Tamsin: And so she started this choir with the kids and they were just like finding their voice and being like, held and supported outside of the school environment in a way that actually wasn’t very common. You know, it might be quite common for white middle class people to go to choir practise once a week, but it wasn’t common for the people in this community. And then while she was doing that in that room, we could get really organised and figure out what we wanted to do as a community. And it was, yeah, like we made a community garden. We started having regular meals with different members of the community bringing their like cultures, cuisine and us all cooking together. Like it was so powerful and great. And in some ways it’s like, Well, where does that go? Like, how does that become part of a bigger picture? Is that how we do it? With like lots of small jigsaw pieces of communities that are kind of working together and then have some sort of an alignment towards a bigger goal of what world they want to be inhabiting? So that it’s less needing to kind of force its way into creation. And in fact, it’s actually cherished and nourished. And it’s like, yes, OK.

 Manda: So that was, if I’ve got the time right about 15 years ago

 Tamsin: Something like that

 Manda: And you now live there. And so I’m really interested to hear from you, how has that grown? How has it flourished? Because those kids will now be adults of their own, probably have their own kids, some of them. Is there still a choir? Are they, you know, did the young woman who started it is she out there being a musician in the world? Has that become a kind of a roadmap that other communities could follow if it were more out there in the world?

 Tamsin: I think it’s yeah, how did we manage it? Like it was all done on a bit of a wing and a prayer. And what community needs, actually, is investment, and it can’t just be done on the kind of good energy and good vibes, especially not in communities where there aren’t lots of white, middle class people who can kind of take a bit of time out to go and be part of their communities. So I think there are strong legacies from what we did there. Not least, so this choir master, Ameena. She’s just a huge whirlwind in the activist scene in London. She was part of the founding group of BLM London Black Lives Matter in London. She then started the London Renters Union, which again has a whole huge journey of its own and is about supporting renters and not letting landlords kind of chuck them out at a moment’s notice. And so she’s, you know, I don’t know that she was planning to be an activist when she left school, but definitely through that kind of interaction with us and realising what she could do, the power that she could do to transform her neighbourhood, has set her on a path where she’s just doing that everywhere. In really impressive ways. And you know, you should speak to her, she’s she’s absolutely phenomenal. And I wonder what the legacy is for the kids who were in the choir, how they look back on that and remember it.

 Tamsin: But in some ways it is this thing of like, that community in that neighbourhood was swamped in some ways, by the systemic injustices that we live in. And there are deep sorrows as well from the work that I did there. About five years after that, you know, that community project kind of, I guess it burnt out in some ways. It wasn’t supported by the council. We couldn’t get funding for it because of it being a little bit political in terms of not wanting the airport. You know the work that it did, created a culture now where actually the Labour Party in Newham is against the airport being there. So, you know, it created the emergence of an anti London city airport feeling in Newham, which is great. But for that particular community, it’s like they need support in a way that they haven’t been given, because of systemic injustice. And there was this boy, you know… So for the Ameena story, which I guess is again just thinking about storytelling and, you know, the heroes of the story. For sure Ameena is the hero of that particular story. But then, like the tragic victim is there. There was a boy called Kareem who was like 13 when we were doing it, and he was on the megaphone. I remember that he turned to me once and he was like, because we would just going around the streets saying ‘come out of your houses, come out of your houses’, before our meetings, before our community meetings.

 Tamsin: And he turned to me and he was like, ‘You couldn’t knock on someone’s door, like the door was a barrier, like, you can’t go to people’s doors. And now we can. Right now, the doors are open’. And I was like, Oh my God, somebody needs to like film you saying that and and get loads of funding for projects like this all around the country. And unfortunately, that didn’t happen. And in fact, he was murdered. And you know why that is, who knows? But he was a victim of a stabbing like five years after that. So when he was a young young adult. And it’s just, I guess, you know, that’s the hard end of the truth of where we are systemically. His story shouldn’t have ended like that from what I knew of him for, you know, like 18 months to two years working alongside him every weekend, and seeing this like bright light, just wanting to engage with the world, wanting to know where he’d fit in. And that was where that story, his story ended up. You know, it’s not without its challenges, the work that we’re set to do.

 Manda: It’s not, is it? That’s incredibly sad. There are so many places we could go with this. And partly I had written down heroes of the story because one of the conversations I want to have in the middle of Thrutopia with Sharon Blackie, who’s written a lot about the heroic journey and the whole Joseph Campbell model, and looking at the post heroic journey and whether it’s time to have a post heroic journey. And I’ve been talking to two young American activists who go ‘we’re all the heroes. Everybody needs to be a hero. Everything else be horizontal. No more heroes’. And yet, I think, listening to you and listening to that, there are some parts of us as human beings that are so hardwired. Or at least in our firmware, not in our hardware. And being the hero of a story. And we can all be the heroes of our own stories. But I think that that heroic narrative that pushes us to take that step a bit further, because we at a very deep level, crave that sense of acknowledgement. I think this is one of the reasons why solitary confinement is one of the worst things we can do to people. Is we lose that sense of feedback from other people. So that’s a direction. I’m thinking out loud. Because one of the other things that’s coming up a lot is this white middle class having the time to do stuff and everybody else not.

 Manda: And our system is set for that, and it’s hard to imagine the people currently in power listening to an alternative. And yet, on the rare occasions when I sit down and talk to our local Tory MP, very white, very upper middle class. He would be devastated if we were to suggest to him that he didn’t care about people other than himself. And I wonder, if we could craft a narrative again in our little citizens assembly of two, of a place where he doesn’t feel that in the midst of his transactional world where everything is zero-sum… Maybe we have to dismantle that for him first. Because I think this is one of the fallacies of our culture; that surviving or cultures that thrive, don’t have that zero-sum transactional sense. They have a sense where I can still be an individual. I can do things that are different from the rest of the culture. I can be blue soldier woman. And you know, you may think women don’t fight, but I’m going to go out and fight because that’s what I want to do. In battles where you know you’re counting coup on someone, you know, actually killing them.

 Manda: But let’s leave that to a separate narrative. So there’s a sense where…David Wengrow describes cultures where nobody tells anyone what to do, and yet the entire culture flourishes because there is a sense that the heroes are the people who help the flourishing, in a way. There’s an extraordinary woman that I’ve listened to on a podcast. This is an aside, we’ll come back from this. She very white, was very middle class, was part of a UN delegation working in South Africa, doing NGO stuff at a very high level. They invited some Masai warriors to come and talk to them. They all turned looking wonderful as you’d expect. And she was then invited back to the tribe, and partway through the ceremony to which she was invited, she realised it was a marriage ceremony and she was the bride! Because one of the young men had gone back to his tribe and said, That’s the woman I dreamt about when I was 11 that I was going to marry. And there was consternation because that’s not what you do. You marry a woman from the tribe. But anyway, the elders and shamans decided he’d had the dream and he had to honour it, so they arranged the ceremony and then halfway through, instead of saying, ‘Oh guys, I’m really sorry, you got the wrong person’, said, ‘Well, it would have been very impolite to say no’. So now she’s married in the Maasai Mara, with someone who when, because that area depends a lot on tourism. Covid hits. And she’s going to her husband. We have no income now. How are we going to put the kids through school? And he goes, Well, we’ll do what we always did. You know we didn’t have money before. We don’t have money now. No big deal. And. He is part of… He was part of that ceremony where they got married, he was also elevated to be a sub chief. I don’t understand the full hierarchy, but the hierarchy is not ‘I get to give you orders’. It’s ‘I went with the group of young people my age out into the bush for six years. And when we came back, they said I was one of the people who was good at taking responsibility and who could hold everything together when things were going very badly wrong. And we’re all still alive. We who came back, you know, the ones who didn’t come back are the ones who aren’t still alive and we’re still alive because this person is one of the people who helped that happen’.

 Manda: And we have hierarchies where the worst possible people, the psychopaths get to the top. And we need to change that. And one of the ways of changing that has to be changing the system. But in the meantime and the progress towards that. My feeling is that if we could craft a story where the people currently holding the reins of power were to understand the devastation of what they were doing, in a way that really touched them, like Kareem’s story. Or even Ameenas story. They would want to help. Because currently they have a story where all people are bad, and are out for themselves. It’s all zero-sum. Everyone’s trying to con us and and we have to prevent them from doing that. And the entire social care service system is set up to stop people getting money, which is insane. So. Let’s craft something. You’ve been in NEF, because in the end, it comes down to resource. And in our world, money is the core resource. And the reason the white middle class people can do the stuff and the others can’t is because the white middle class people have more money and therefore more resource and therefore more time and more agency. So how do we create agency?

 Tamsin: I love this idea of celebrating the ‘others’. Like celebrating those who aren’t the kind of dominant leaders. And I guess this is if we’re thinking about a post heroic narrative, or building up the idea of who will be our heroes now. Then yeah, I mean, it is Ameena and it is Kareem, and I’m so intrigued about how will we as white middle class people, cope with the fact that we may not be the best heroes of the story right now and that we might need to make space for other heroes to emerge. And accept and invite, celebrate, their emergence. Think it really is time. I am so interested about this idea that, you know, like it’s not like it’s new to me, and it’s so not new to people who have kind of sat at the margins of things. Like this person that you were talking about, like, how will we get by? So, we’ll just do it how we did it before, when we had nothing! And, you know, for us that’s such a crazy idea. How do we get by post capitalism? How do we get by without, you know, like my partner’s just quit her job because like, whatever it is, it’s not worth that. You know, like whatever the benefits are of having the nine to five or eight to six as it actually turns out to be. And you know, the stress of it and the pressure to show up and to always be like, particularly on point, like it’s just not worth it. And how we get by… we’re going to have to figure that out, because that version wasn’t working.

 Tamsin: So, yeah, I’m, you know, like, yeah, I love this idea of building up different versions of heroism. And I think that that thing of like being influential and recognising that your actions, your heroic actions, have influence. And that in that influence, you’re being acknowledged. That your efforts and your gift to society is being acknowledged. And I think of this, you know, Tory MP who has so much influence and who probably is like really seeking acknowledgement that he’s just doing the right thing and that he’s like making the choices that he can make to to build the society that he thinks will serve the most people. Like I can’t believe that anyone… I mean, for sure, there are some real psychopaths at the top… But like, I think, you know, anybody that’s kind of in a public servant is probably trying to do the best they can to be a hero. To be the hero of their own story. And I think, yeah, we just need to celebrate all of the stories that aren’t that one! You know, like celebrate all of the heroes that aren’t the politician in charge in control, laying down the law that all of us have to live by and instead is something like much more like listening, much more emergent. Reacting to change in a way that seeks to shape it rather than control it, or rather than assert some universal truth that shall not be, you know, disputed.

 Manda: OK. This is sounding good. And it seems to me that the Green Party is stepping towards that. And I’m really curious to know, now that the Green Party is in coalition in government in Scotland.

 Tamsin: Let’s all move to Scotland.

 Manda: Quite. Yes. Or we could just import Scottish concepts down here. Because I’m also watching.. So Scotland, I think Scotland, Wales, Iceland, Finland, New Zealand. The five. Are all nations of around five million and they’ve joined in a wellbeing alliance and they’re sharing best practise. And I think other than Wales, the other four are all led by women, which, you know, I know we shouldn’t necessarily label things with gender, but that does seem quite significant to me, really. And Mark Drakeford is a particularly switched on bloke, and the Welsh have written into their constitution, which the other four don’t, yet. The fact that they have to take into account the impact down seven generations of what they do. So they’re not building new roads or new tunnels and pretending that that won’t create more cars, because they’ve got people in there going, No, no, no, that’s not going to work. So as we’re seeing politics being influenced and I’m guessing it happens both ways; I would imagine that quite a lot of the Green Party people go in with extraordinary ideals and end up going well the reality is we can’t do all of it. We have to pick our battles. Which is the nature of current politics. Are you seeing anything in Scotland that’s filtering down through kind of Green Party networks to give us a different model of doing politics and of shaping policy that is creating more value more widely spread?

 Tamsin: You know, I think this is like, it’s really about the ego of power, isn’t it, that there are no other alternatives? And I guess that’s kind of where we live, our current reality is that it’s so hard to believe that there are other ways of doing things, because this is the way it is. And there’s so much ego to that. Because actually, there are an infinite number of ways of doing things, and those are being expressed in the cracks in this system all the time. I’m always surprised at the fact that, you know, just, you know, in the same country in some ways. Or just north of the border between England and Scotland. There is a very different model; a kind of experiment in some ways of many different ways of doing leadership. You know, the co-leadership of two women-led political parties. The Scots are led by a gay man and a woman. But you know, it’s not the version of male heterosexual leadership that we’re kind of, or patriarchal power, that we’re used to. And daily there’s exciting news coming from Scotland about about their different ways of doing things. You know, they’re going to do free public transport. So they just make the decision and they do it. And that proves to us that it is possible for under 16s and over whatevers, that it is possible to do that. That you can just make these decisions. They’re going to give free, sanitary products are going to be free. It’s just a decision. You make that decision. Like education has always been free, like universities for Scottish in Scotland are free and you know, these are people who they literally exist within, like whatever it is, like the United Kingdom. So how can that be possible that a devolved country can be acting so differently to to us? And I guess the clear thing is that that north of the border, they’re acting in a way, they’re trying to make policies that make life better for people. And that just feels totally radical, which is insane.

 Manda: Yeah, yeah. But then we watch it in the states as well. You know, Biden is, for all his flaws, trying to make policies that make things better for people. And the fight back to make sure that doesn’t happen and to create the righteous indignation that you spoke about earlier, which is such a powerful thing, against it. As if this was somehow a bad thing. It’s extraordinary how fluent the people who don’t want this to happen are, in creating particularly righteous indignation. Which I remember from my neurophysiology days. A really good hit of righteous indignation is the equivalent of snorting quite a lot of cocaine, and it’s addictive. And so people like feeling righteous indignation, and this is why the Mail does so well. It’s the headline every day. It’s designed to give you that little spike of, ‘Oh my god, that’s awful. And I’m better than that’. It’s just, you know, it sadly is… Until we manage a bit of Conscious Evolution where we can kind of look at that in the happening and go, ‘Actually, no, I don’t want to go there’… We’re kind of stuck with it. So it would be nice to be able to create some righteous indignation that was on the ‘hell yes!’ front. So free public transport, free sanitary products.

 Manda: I’m going to tell you a funny story on Twitter. It’s the only bit of social media I still do, but a floating post the other day was the bloke going ‘Tampons shouldn’t be free if women can’t control their bladders, that’s their problem!’ And the one posting going, ‘Okay, girls, who’s going to be the one to tell him?’ So, you know, we got a degree of education to be out there, in between falling about. So, but still, OK, Scotland, free public transport, free sanitary products. Education, as you said, has always been free and and pretty good. I went to university in Scotland. It was a good experience. What else? I’m thinking the things that I would want to see free are housing because you have to give people shelter. I would really recreate the agricultural system so that staple food was all free. Broadband, partly because then I can play warcraft. But you know, leaving that aside, broadband needs to be free because it’s a definitely a staple and power and water and sewerage. Britain is the only nation in the entire world that has ever privatised its water and sewage. And they keep dragging people in from, you know, other places like the U.S. and going, ‘Hey, guys, we went private’ and the USA are going Yeah, you did didn’t you, and it was such a big mistake. And nobody else has ever done it. But we have the little ideological, you know, ‘this needs to happen. Private is good’. And what they do then, apparently, I gather, is take out huge, huge loans in order to pay their CEOs massive bonuses. Because that’s the most financially efficient thing to do while, you know, spewing vast quantities of raw sewage into the river and oceans because the stuff to treat it came from Europe. And now we can’t get it. So we’re not going to try and do anything else, we’re just going to pretend it doesn’t matter.

 Manda: This is the world we live in. Ok, so we’re starting a new narrative. That’s the stuff we don’t want. What’s the stuff we do want? We want Clean waters. We want, I guess, for the cleanup to be also free. So all of our water and the clean up from agriculture, because huge amounts of the pollution that’s happening in the world seems to me comes from agriculture. And I’ve read the GOES paper. Anyone who hasn’t, I’ll put it in the show notes. Because, you know, we think there’s a slow dissolution and things just get worse. But if I’ve read the GOES paper correctly, it comes from the Rozin Institute. We’re living in a very fragile system where the ocean is acting as that buffer.Weak acid buffer. And I remember doing chemistry at school and you dripped the acid and dripped the acid and dripped the acid and then between one drop and the next, it suddenly changes. And it’s not just the CO2, it’s microplastic pollution and general pollution. If the phytoplankton all die, which they will, if the pH continues to go… 25 years and the pH hits 7.9, no more phytoplankton. 50 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from the sea. At the point when the seas die, they all die, everything dies pretty much overnight. Then I think things get really quite difficult, very quickly. It’s not a slow dissolution. Then that’s a very, very sudden 50 percent drop in the oxygen in the atmosphere.  Is not going to be a fun way to look. That’s like standing at the top of Everest. And so, you know, I’m sure Elon Musk and the others have got little supplies of oxygen cylinders, but the rest of us, not so good. So without wishing to frighten everybody, I still think that’s a really good reason to change things quite fast.

 Tamsin: Yes

 Manda: So in our radical revolution, we’ve got… So I’ve gone for free power, free water and sewerage and clean up and free staple food and free housing. What would you have?

 Tamsin: Yeah. You know, the breadth of your imagination is putting mine to shame. So thank you for reminding me that I can ask for more than free sanitary products! And also for reminding us all about these feedback loops and the kind of sudden jolts in the climate system that we are approaching. That kind of are the reality. And that give us the context in which we can demand the impossible, because we’re literally moving into, you know, an impossible era. I loved at the beginning of the COP, which was held in Glasgow last year, I was working with the Minga Indigena, which is a group of indigenous leaders from Latin America, and they were heading to the cop and they were obviously, like everybody, wanting you know, huge transformation. They were wanting it to be the COP where Britain recognised its formative role in creating the structures of oppression that, you know, that have created this climate crisis. But have also, you know, pushed indigenous people off their lands with colonialism. And that’s what was just so gorgeous. Them coming with these huge expectations and also completely heartbreaking. With the knowledge that our leaders were probably not going to meet with them and they were probably going to be outside the conference centre. Maybe a great photograph for the Guardian in their ceremonial gear, but not actually being listened to. And then Nicola Sturgeon, you know, rewarded us all and surprised us all, by making the first meeting that she had at COP be with the Minga Indigena. And it just felt like a different way of doing leadership. And I guess like, I want all of those things that you said to be free. And then I also want these ancient systems of wisdom, that we are only just, you know, we as kind of, well, me, I will say as a white western person; only just beginning to scratch the surface of recognising, acknowledging and desiring to understand. I want those systems of wisdom to be amplified and for us to humbly learn from the wisdom of peoples who we have historically oppressed and who actually seem to have a number of answers about how we can curate our relationship with the world.

 Manda: Yes, a lot of them are spiritual, aren’t they?  A lot of them are spiritual, and it seems to me that we do, and we must change the nature of our politics and our economics. But that the fundamental change that needs to happen, is that sense of reconnecting with the all that is, with the Web of life, with whatever it is that we call it. To the point where it feels like a genuine connection. I, you know, I sometimes watch some of the students that come to the shamanic stuff. And there it takes quite a while to get out of the headspace of thinking that you want it to happen, but I’m the one person that it’s not going to happen to, to understanding that this isn’t a happening. It’s just letting go enough to accept the invitation that is already there. And how do we help that happen at scale? When we’ve had 2000 years of the spirituality that was there was so destructive and so violent and so misogynist and homophobic, and all of those things. That spirituality itself has become a toxic cue. And we need to go, OK, that you know, yes, it wasn’t great. But all around the world, where that spirituality wasn’t destroying people, there were people actually connected. And this connection is a real thing, and you don’t have to put it all aside, like we did in the Enlightenment in order simply to survive and not be burned at the stake, for instance. Which you and I would have been, you know, long before now. So from your experience of being with them and being in their company and seeing the connectedness that happens; have you ideas of how we can spread that at scale?

 Tamsin: I would love to have a great answer for that. I mean, I think we are spreading it at scale through our decisions to live publicly spiritual lives. And to credit, whatever ‘enlightenment’ that we have on, you know, on the source of that enlightenment; which I think you know for me at least is a fractured spiritual journey, but one that I work hard to make less fractured. But yeah, from the being around people whose culture is spiritual or who’s understanding of the world is spiritual. It’s just so joyful. It’s really relaxing, in some ways. It’s like I was desperate that the COP would achieve all of the things that they wanted it to achieve. They just knew that it either would or it wouldn’t. But that also everything is going to be OK in some way. And so, yeah, I don’t like… I think you’re really right. Like the challenge of the past two thousand years and this kind of, you know, this huge fracture in what I think is like the biggest human need; which is to have a sense of connection with something that makes sense and is bigger than us. And it doesn’t need to be a god or a deity or anything. It can just be, you know, belonging to this great human family on this strange and mystical planet.

 Tamsin: And I think there is a hunger for that and that hunger is being filled in various ways. You know, I look to like ’12 step recovery’ and like enormous growth of these kind of spiritual practises in that community. And how it’s, you know, it’s so interesting to see that it is being answered, but it’s not being answered in a monolithic way anymore, because we have all had our issues with that. Except for the people who haven’t yet. Who haven’t yet been excluded from the spirituality that’s on offer there. But like, yeah, you know, maybe we should have started talking about spirituality earlier. In some ways, it’s like it’s such a private, or maybe not private. It’s such an intimate thing. It’s exactly like you say. It’s like you kind of want to believe that it can happen for you, but you don’t believe that it can happen for you. And then at some point you let go and it is just happening and you are just being in the world and it’s all right. And you know, I think we all need to prioritise building those practises that allow us to relax into our spirit.

 Manda: Yeah, that’s perfect and beautiful and wonderful. Yes, and for everybody, that will be different, but that sense of the relaxing into spirit is the bit that then becomes a common language that you can share. That’s brilliant. It almost feels like a really good place to end, and it might be a really good place to end. We might cut here. But I had one last question which was really, where now for Tamsin? Because you’re such a blazing light of being, and you have such a vision of a different world, have you a sense of forward or are you just relaxing into the being and seeing where it takes you?

 Tamsin: Where now for Tamsin? Yeah,this is something I don’t have a clear answer on in some ways. There are things that tug at me. They tug at my attention and I think, Yes, that’s it. There is a Tamsin shaped key to unlock this particular door, and if I unlock it, then hundreds of thousands of people pour through it. And will, you know, we’ll get to that next great moment of the pink boat in Oxford Circus or whatever the next great moment is. And I’m also looking at those things with a little bit of, you know, in some ways, I so want my existence to make sense in this time. Like, I want to be useful. I want to be a key. And sometimes I wonder about whether my focus is in the right place. Because whilst I’m trying to transform the whole narrative, I can often lose the immediacy of connection with my own community. And because I just get so busy doing something big and public that I don’t really exist as, you know, an embodied human being. Just trying to figure out how we build community in a very specific time and place. And so I guess I’m feeling like a pull between two different versions at the moment, and I’ll probably just straddle them for a bit.

 Tamsin: And one of those versions is like being in London. Extinction Rebellion has this new strategy for 2022. It’s really the ‘if not now, when, if not who’ et cetera, kind of strategy. And it’s kind of going back to some of the basics as well. You know, like Extinction Rebellion in some ways fractured so much, because there was so much interest in so many different places and being part of it. And now I think this strategy kind of pulls it tight and kicks hard at those you know, where power is currently situated. So for sure, I’ll be part of that up until April and potentially beyond. But then there’s another part of me which just says ‘go to the Highlands, go to the Highlands’ And, you know, the Highlands in some ways, you know, is it a real place even? But it is a real place. And yeah, me and my partner have a kind of long term desire to create and be part of intentional community. And that feels very challenging to do in London because of some of what I was saying around the kinds of life that London rewards and the kinds of life that it doesn’t reward.

 Tamsin: And so in some ways, it feels like it might be a lot simpler to do that, not in London. And then writing. You know, writing this book last year was just a gift, it really was. And and I guess you know, when I talk about spiritual practise as well, I found through – what is it called? The Artist’s Way. That’s a really lovely way to just explore your own spirit. I recommend it to everyone if they want a kind of 12 week programme of discovering their artist, who potentially they never let take control of their life before. And so, yeah, I’m interested to write it as well. I think you can get… I do a lot of, you know, I actually find it quite hard to think unless I’m writing down, unless I’m looking at what I’m… Yeah. So I think it’s quite a good way for me to just figure out… Like if we’re going to have to build new worlds, then I might only get close to what I think, if I start writing about them.

 Manda: That sounds good. Yes. Okay. So whatever The Artist’s Way is, because I’ve never heard of it before, we’ll put links in the show notes so that people can access it. And that feels like a wonderful place to end. I look forward to whatever book arises out of this process. Tamsin Omond, thank you so much for coming on to Accidental Gods.

 Tamsin: Thank you.

 Tamsin: And that’s it for another week. Enormous thanks to Tamsin for the vibrant enthusiasm that they bring to everything that they do. And the depth of thinking. It’s this kind of emotional and spiritual literacy that I think is going to make all of the difference between where we are and where we need to be. That stepping away from the righteous anger and into a more reflective, reflexive way of being that allows us to not have to know exactly where we’re going, but to sit and listen and see what the world needs of us first. While we’re waiting to see what the world needs of us, I have four copies left of ‘Do Earth; Healing Strategies for Humankind’ by Tamsin Omond. I bought quite a lot of copies when it came out, because I thought it was so interesting. It’s one of those books that takes us forward gently. So that we can give it to people who are perhaps on the edge of understanding the nature of the problem and the solutions. Because Tamsin really goes into the kinds of things that we need to do to bring ourselves to a new way of being. So I have the four. I also have just recorded a podcast with someone called Rieki Cordon about SEEDS, which is a new kind of currency and which seems to me to be a way forward in the transition between where we are and where we need to be.

 Manda: So I am in the process of setting up a SEEDS account. By the time you hear this, I sincerely hope and believe that not only will I have a SEEDS account, I will know how it works. And therefore, the first four people that contact me and offer whatever fraction of a SEED you want, I will send you a copy of the book. I will put a link to SEEDS in the show notes, if you want to just Google it, go for:  If I haven’t, just email me, I’ll send you a copy of the book anyway. But I’m sincerely hoping that I will be there. And this is a good thing and we all want to be part of it. I think. So there we go.

 Manda: That’s it for this week. We will be back next week with another conversation. In the meantime, enormous thanks to Caro C, for wrestling with a sound production as ever and for the music at the head and foot. Huge thanks to Faith Tilleray for the website and all of the conversations that make this possible. Enormous thanks to Anne Thomas for her work with the transcripts. And vast, vast thanks to you for listening. As ever, if you know of anybody else who really wants to be part of the generative dance of the world, then please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.


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