Last night I had a great time at the Green Oscars….whaoh there, before you get too excited, it was only as a guest – not to get an award! This Observer organised bash is to honour worthy projects and environmental initiatives.
When I was invited I thought it would be held in some kind of derelict-factory, refurb, pop- up space in the bad lands. Inside it would be all polished concrete with a stage made from pallets and old park benches cunningly upcycled by Kevin Mc Cloud into seats. It wasn’t. It was held in OneMarylebone.
“Beautifully refurbished to the original designs of Sir John Soane, the Grade I listed venue boasts 3 unique spaces plus landscaped garden, moments from Regents Park. The grandeur of One Marylebone has attracted blue-chip brands from avariety of industries with a focus on fashion, beauty and the arts.”
As you may know I am currently living in a van. Which means that my wardrobe, (never dressy), is now severely limited. The dress code on the night was sustainable style. While my van wear may well be sustainable, there is no style involved. I have a dress of sackcloth and some brown, flat, Roman-style sandals. At best I look biblical – and I mean more Moses than Delilah! I admit as I approached One Marylebone last night I was nervous.
Turns out I need not have worried. The venue was lovely and not as overwhelming as it looks on the website. It is a tastefully converted building on a nice intimate scale. Even a van dweller like myself felt at home. And while the sackcloth was at the less dressy end of the spectrum, there was a diverse range of outfits on display.
I loved seeing what were once considered alternatives becoming mainstream – and that fact being not just acknowledged but celebrated.
I am sure there will be some accusations of green washing. Of the sponsors – can an airline ever be considered environmental (Virgin), what about Ecovers use of synthetic biology?
And charges that while change is happening, is it really fast enough and big enough? Is this just fiddling as sea levels rise?
And there is some understandable bitterness. I have been involved with cooperative housing and community design schemes for more years then I care to reveal. Many of the pioneers I worked with, the first wave hippies and greens, have become disillusioned because they have seen great projects fold for the lack of support. And the swinging cuts in council funding means another lot will go to the wall.
And then of course my personal plastic grievance. I look in my eco-goody bag to see most of the environmentally aware products still come in plastic! Come on guys – plastic is not the packaging of a green future!
But is there any point bitching about the past and denouncing others green credentials? Of course there needs to ongoing discussion and evaluation, but there also needs to be momentum, we have to start somewhere. The Observer Awards encourage and acknowledge movements that can then become the basis for discussions.
And good for them say I. It was great to be there supporting and applauding the people who worked so hard to make theses fantastically worthwhile projects happen.
And to hear Bianca Jagger speak. Not only is what she says always worth listening to, she has a lovely voice.
Trying hard not to diminish Colin Firths contribution by lapsing into drooling. Love that he supports the awards.
But, on a personal note, a real highlight was to meet fellow bloggers, people I know from twitter and other social media who I have long admired and whose support I have greatly valued.
These represent grass-roots movements started by one person or family just getting on and changing what they can – their impact on the planet.They have already changed the world.
It was so great to meet
The always challenging Zoe of Ecothrifty
Carl Legge Seeking sustainability on the Llyn Peninsula
Jen Gale who lives make do and mend
Mommy Emu bringing them up green
Karen Cannard the first lady of rubbish
And of course thanks to Katherine Purvis and the Observer Ethical Awards for giving me the opportunity to enjoy all of the above.