Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

A A A

To the city of dreaming spires to attend the 40th anniversary of the iconic environmental magazine Resurgence. It is still run by its founder, the inspirational peace campaigner Satish Kumar, who in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, walked 8,000 miles from India to America without any money to deliver packets of "peace tea" to the leaders of the four nuclear powers.

The peace tea was inspired by meeting women in a tea factory who gave him four tea bags, one to be delivered to each of the leaders with the message: "When you think you need to press the button, stop for a minute and have a fresh cup of tea."

The speakers at the Resurgence party included Annie Lennox, Deepak Chopra, Jonathon Porritt, George Monbiot, Anita Roddick and Caroline Lucas, and they gave us plenty to think about.

There are differences of opinion in the environmental movement as there are in any group of people, no matter how compassionate or pure their motivation. For example, Anita Roddick has been criticised for selling the Body Shop to L'Oréal, so it was good to hear her explain that they are committed to keeping her core ideals. It's a huge benefit to have a woman with her drive and vision working to change the world's largest beauty company from the inside. There was further controversy - between my eco-coach, Donnachadh, and me - when George Monbiot pointed out that the green movement was missing a trick by being too nice. This allows companies like BP to sneak into our consciousness and cunningly reinvent themselves as eco-friendly with its chairman, John Browne, being painted as the poster boy of the environmental movement.

Donnachadh insists that we should praise companies who are embracing green thinking (BP is investing a measly 2.6 per cent of its profits into renewables, but it's a start he argues), and to be for things rather than against them. I believe this is a more positive approach in life - dogs (and boyfriends) are trained more effectively through praise than punishment - but seeing John Browne reinvented as a green guru makes me seethe. If BP can pay him £5.6m a year, they should be able to make rudimentary safety checks on pipelines and thus prevent oil spills. This March saw the second-largest spill in Alaskan history, which has had devastating effects on Alaska's environment.

But the problems are not all "out there" in the wicked world of business. My top moment came when Donnachadh stood up during a hand-wringing speech about averting global meltdown and suggested that we could make a start by turning some of the lights off (half the blinds were drawn), which was duly done. All of us wrestle with guilty carbon secrets - but unless we ourselves are "the change we want to see" we can't expect the world to change either.

www.resurgence.org

j.stephenson@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world