rebelrebel:    ideals

Ideals

It felt important to have a page to point towards some of the things I care about yet it's easy to end up being very tedious about such matters. So I'll just mention a few things and leave links to a few key sites which say it all so much better than I can at this point on the journey.

Daily Life

I gave up my old day job back in 2007, in a leap of faith, as it didn't feel like a good match and I certainly didn't feel I was contributing much to the greater good in that line of work. At the moment I am still trying to find the right balance between my bread-and-butter paid work (part-time outreach work at the church, supplemented with freelance bits and pieces, mainly web design and newsletter layout) and the voluntary work that really excites me and might actually make some small positive difference in the world (offering workshops on spiritual/religious exploration, and groups intended to promote peaceful communication and community values) whilst also allowing sufficient time for me to focus on my various artistic/creative projects. I used to work as a research fellow in the Centre for Medical Image Computing at UCL, after doing my PhD at Guy's Hospital (KCL), and managed to get a few publications out... but I got out just before I was entirely crushed by the experience. Phew. The last few years have been financially tricky but I have absolutely no regrets about making the leap.

Environment and Conservation

If you love birds and trees and creeping creatures, as I do, then it stands to reason that you want to look after them. Having said that, we are all flawed and contradictory humans, and need reminding at every turn to act in the best interests of all the beings we share the planet with. Every step we take, every decision we make, has an impact that reverberates all around the world (even if it's only in the tiniest way) and if you think about that too hard it might be enough to stop you getting out of bed in the morning... but let's not despair!

Some years ago I got enthused after reading an excellent book called "Go M.A.D (Go Make a Difference)" which suggests all manner of small positive steps you can take to reduce the impact of your actions on the environment. One of my personal crusades as a gardener is to encourage people to opt for peat-free compost... generally the world doesn't make it easy to make these positive choices. For inspiration/encouragement, it's always worth having a look at the "social inventions" from the Global Ideas Bank, or the worldwide developments in Positive News.

Public Transport

I believe in buses. Also in National Rail, the London Underground and the DLR. Luckily, so does Ken Livingstone, and I reckon that public transport provision in the capital (or at least those bits of it over which he was given proper powers to make a difference) steadily improved over the eight years since that happy day back in 2000 when he was elected as Mayor of London. (I will not contaminate my website by dwelling much here on the disastrous events of 2008 when a destructive bigot was elected to take his place but be aware that this is something that I continue to be angry about). I also believe in bicycles and would love to cycle if I was more energetic and less anxious about the city traffic... for the time being I will continue to think kind thoughts and give cyclists moral support from the relative safety of the pavement.

Interfaith Understanding

I haven't had very much active involvement in interfaith dialogue (maybe this is because I am equally rubbish at making conversation with anybody regardless of what their religion is or whether they have any faith at all) but I wanted to make a mention of this as something that is worth making an effort for. Unitarian communities have got a pretty good record in interfaith matters and the Kensington congregation I'm involved with does its bit by hosting activities of a number of different faith groups in our church building. If you don't know much about other faiths you might do well to start here or here for an accessible introduction.

Social Justice and other Leftie Ideals

There are any number of worthy causes out there that are worth rolling up your sleeves for... for starters, have a look on a site like this.