Natalie Fee shares her thoughts on lockdown, saving the world and makin’ whoopee…
City to Sea founder Natalie Fee boasts an enthusiasm for our oceans and tireless campaigning to reduce plastic pollution with a positive and playful outlook on life.
She sat down with us (virtually) for a quick chat about her latest book and how she’s staying positive in lockdown.
What has lockdown looked like for you and how are you finding ways to sustain yourself – mentally, physically or spiritually?
The first couple of weeks were intense, as I live with (and generally try to heal myself of) health anxiety. So a global pandemic got that part of me on high alert and I needed to spend a fair amount of time and energy self-soothing and transforming that energy into something more … useful! I did that through deepening my meditation practice, helping others and coming back to my body. And did a little IGTV on it too to help others going through the same or similar thing.
Then, once that part was easier to manage, I noticed I was putting a ton a pressure on myself to create something extraordinary or ‘pivot’ my offerings to the world whilst on lockdown. So then I spent some time undoing that stress too!
Now, I’m relaxing into focusing on my City to Sea work, writing some playful poems and working on the updates for the paperback version of my book. (Sshhh! It’s coming out in 2021 … but you didn’t hear it here!)
Tell us about your latest book, How to Save the World for Free. Who is it for and what do you hope people take away from it?
It’s a practical guide to living more sustainably, covering all key areas of our lives, from food and travel to politics and sex. I wanted to write something upbeat but equally hard-hitting, that gives readers an overview of the big environmental issues of our time, but that also empowers and inspires them to take action.
I also write about the big barriers to change, including broken political systems, capitalism and consumerism – and put forward practical and engaging ways to disrupt them.
In terms of the audience, I’d say it’s for pale to middling greens as opposed to deep greens! Think of the lettuce and green beans or the sustainability world as opposed to the kales. It’s playful though and I’ve had seasoned greens feeding back to me that they’ve learned new things. But definitely for ages 16 and up, as it gets a bit risqué in places.
What’s your favourite tip or anecdote from the book?
I love how the ‘Save the World When You Bank’ chapter makes people go ‘Wow! I had no idea!’, especially when it comes to ethical investments and pensions. And in general, the positive feedback around the overall upbeat tone of the book which people are finding really helpful.
But in terms of what was most fun to write, that was probably the sex chapter. It’s not going to save the world, but you need to relax and have fun while you’re fighting the war on ecocide don’t you?! Otherwise we’d spiral into despair.
We made a music video together! Tell us how your updated version of the song ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ came about and where the inspiration came from?
We did! And I loved working with you all! I wanted something fun to share with people that might inspire them to buy the book, whilst giving them a laugh (and an ear worm) at the same time. I love writing playful poems, and also recycling vintage songs and putting comedy lyrics over them. The idea for a green version of Makin’ Whoopee just kind of landed in my awareness one day, so I got out my ukulele and let it flow!
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, what are the most impactful things we can do in our lives to ensure a brighter future?
Er, not re-elect Donald Trump? But in terms of what we can all do here on an individual level in the UK, we can boil it down to eating a predominantly plant-based diet, radically cutting back our flying and making sure we’ve switched our energy and pension to green providers.
And making sure our voices are amplified and heard by joining in with climate strikes and movements like Extinction Rebellion and Stop Ecocide to keep the pressure on our governments and big businesses.
What are you most hopeful of as we move into the 2020s?
Marine permaculture, kelp forests and sea grass beds. The sequester huge amounts of carbon – fast – create marine habitats and can be a valuable food source too.
If any readers are involved with any of those hit me up!
Natalie Fee is an award-winning environmental campaigner, speaker and author. She’s also the founder of the plastic pollution campaign group, City to Sea. You can order a copy of How to Save the World for Free from online booksellers, or visit www.nataliefee.com/books
Natalie also shares tips and idea on Instagram as nataliefee_