Chris Packham: A Punk Optimist for Greener Sport – What’s Inside the Latest Issue of Positive News

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Holding on to hope can be a difficult business. Chris Packham’s sense of optimism is most shaky when he hears about a really awful affront to nature. For Anna Whitehouse, who campaigns for the right to work flexibly, it’s worrying about the world that her children will inherit. Most of the interviewees in the latest issue of Positive News have their own vulnerability towards despair. 

But what I find inspiring is that nevertheless, they’ve all found purpose, and ways to move forward. Packham shows his capacity for self-criticism in our interview, and his positivity is not always as cheerfully shouldered as it seems on TV. But his extraordinary zeal comes powerfully to light.

Likewise at Silo, the world’s first zero-waste restaurant, founder Douglas McMaster shrugs off criticism that the concept is ‘preachy’. I love his geeky fascination with processes like composting and fermentation, and his seeming delight in having made things really difficult for himself, such is his passion. 

For the duo behind the Graphic Rewilding project, filling grey urban spaces with huge pictures of flowers is what gets them out of bed. Jodie Jackson, founder of the News Literacy Lab, is driven by a wish to help young people cope with today’s media. Sammy Woodhouse is fired up by helping other survivors of sexual assault to feel hope, amid an experience she knows to be shattering.

Elsewhere in this issue are business trailblazers, planet-minded athletes, kind-hearted crafters, climate choristers and, for good measure, a proselytising librarian. ‘Insta-poets’ feature briefly, too. And a poem by one of them, Nikita Gill, struck me when I was putting together this issue:

Everything is on fire,

but everyone I love is doing beautiful things

and trying to make life worth living,

but I believe in that.

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