Sustainability means to me... by Sonal, 16

Sonal was on a week-long joint summer work experience programme with Global Generation, Argent LLP, St Pancras Hotel Group and King's Cross Estate Services, coordinated in partnership with Inspire EBP and with the theme of sustainability running through it. He is interested in a career in journalism and wrote this excellent blog all by himself.

“I, We and the Planet” - Global Generation’s saying conveys connotations of responsibility, collaboration and sustainability. But what does it really mean? And how does this ethos benefit us and the wider community?

I first came to learn of this phrase on my first day at the King’s Cross Skip Garden, as part of my joint work experience programme. After skimming through the idea of the garden being movable, I went in with little expectations. Personally, the idea of it being mobile encouraged ideas of short-term work, and not being able to tend to its needs efficiently. But boy was I wrong. What I did find were several skips that were home to a plethora of fruits, vegetables and pollinators. Tomatoes, peppers, chillis, apples, pears, and red, white and blackcurrants are just a few to name. Amongst the cornucopia of herbs, lemon thyme definitely makes its presence known - a feast for the nose.

These skips lie alongside a thriving café, that makes use of the food grown here. The gardening is also used commercially, as produce is grown for local restaurants’ terraces. Furthermore, Global Generation work with local businesses, community groups and schools to help them create their own unique growing spaces. Clearly the theme of sustainability resonates throughout this area and highlights the “Planet” element of their methodology. Sustainability is further reinforced through reusing glass, reusing the skips, and harvesting rainwater.

But perhaps more importantly, this area also showcases the “We” aspect of their ethos. Evidently, the quality of this project is due to the passion and enthusiasm that drives the committed members of staff. This passion and enthusiasm is contagious and undoubtedly rubs off onto volunteers and visitors. Through projects such as the Inter-generational Photography Programme, bridges are built between communities as they engage in activities that delve beyond barriers, such as differing languages or race. Not only does this strengthen the connection between groups of people, but it also promotes sustainability.

It could be argued that people don't care as much for the environment due to a lack of exposure to sustainable methods.  With my own eyes I saw a shift in attitude towards the environment from my work experience partner. Someone who had believed sustainable efforts were "so extra" (which means unnecessary) began to have fun "communicating" with a chicken and quickly realised how simple it is to become more sustainable after a tour of the place and their experience in the café. More importantly they realised the impact this had on the wider community. Possibly our greatest conclusion was that every sustainable act does actually make an impact. That's where the "I" part of the phrase comes in. This place has made me realise how we're all responsible for the environment, and how every action has an effect. Positive or negative.

In essence, "I, We and The Planet" embodies Global Generation's aim to connect people from differing backgrounds to each other, as well as to the environment. This is fantastically done through activities such as urban food-growing, cooking, supporting bees and eating together with dialogue and creative writing. So feed your curiosity and visit the King's Cross Skip Garden.