Project Assistant Muthoni Wanyoike and Head of Insights Morgan Philipps talk about how their concern about how we live now - and its impact on people and planet - has inspired them to work in the environmental sector.
"We Share Freely". The change we want to see in the world is bigger than we are. So, we're sharing our knowledge, resources and ideas to help more people and organisations take steps forward towards our vision of a green and thriving planet, where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth's limits.
As part of this, we're launching our new "5 Minute GAP" series, a collection of five minute conversations that will share how we work and what we're working on. We'll talk about what we're trying to achieve and why, how we function as an organisation, and the thinking behind our plans and strategy.
We'll be regularly sharing these conversations, which will feature different members of our team and trustee board, as well as external experts.
We hope you enjoy listening in to our chats, getting to know our team and finding out what makes us who we are.
Audio only version:
If you prefer to read rather than watch, the transcription is here:
Morgan: I'm wondering whether there's were there any kind of environmentalists or kind of role models that you've or books, you've read or documentaries that you've seen which have really kind of like switched the lights on for you and really made you think about that? Just wondering if, you know, if you have any kind of heroes in the environment space that you can think of?
Toni: Yeah. So the first person who came straight to my mind was Wangari Maathai. So she yeah, as you might have heard of her, she's like Kenya's gem when it comes to being at the forefront of environmentalism and I mean, I think she helped save one of our kind of like hugest parks in the in the middle of the city centre, literally, from being developed into office buildings. And she was able to get like the Nobel Peace Prize for her work because she doesn't just...she didn't just do like work with environmentalism, but she also tried to find a way for it to intersect with women's rights as well. And, you know, she had like biographies about her work. There's quite a bit of things that she was able to achieve in her lifetime. The late Wangari Maathai.
And then I think from there on, I, I think with obviously the social media being more prevalent, more significant. There's a lot more different eco influencers, or kind of activists, that you can follow the work on social media. So I think I've been able to use those people as inspiration for the kind of work that I want to put out and the kind of environmental focus I would like to zero in on. But I definitely attribute my inspiration to Wangari Maathai. I think that's one of the biggest
inspirations for me and continues to be.
Morgan: Yeah, she's fantastic. And I think it's Penguin who just released a whole range of books of different inspiring figures in the environmental movement. They're quite short, sort of less than a hundred pages. I just picked up the Wangari Maathai, one I haven't started it yet, but looking forward to reading that because it's been a while since I've engaged with her stuff.
You sort of talked about finding kind of specific areas in the environmental issues within it that you're kind of focusing in on as your interest here. Do you feel like you've identified those yet and kind of do you see, you know, within the environmental movement GAP being a place where you can where you can pursue your sort of passionate area?
Toni: I think from having worked in my role now and the projects that I've worked with, I've gotten a lot more passionate about education and sustainable environmental education. And that's something that I can see myself definitely taking with me into a project that I would work on in the future. Because I don't think we see a lot of that in Kenyan education, and there's definitely a lot of space for that as well, which is something I'd definitely like to take home with me.
And then one particular aspect about sustainability and environment that I do feel very passionate about is sustainable development. I think it looks at that aspect of it's very close to you. I think when you look at the post-consumerism movement and look at like the day to day lifestyles that we hold as people, I think that could easily feed into sustainable development and how...how developing countries can sort of get to where they need to be or improve certain aspects of, let's say, the different systems in place to benefit the planet and benefit people's wellbeing and welfare so that no one's really losing out, the planet isn't losing out, and we as people are not losing out. So I feel like I'm starting to see the smaller issues, I feel like with sustainable development... sorry I'm waffling a bit...but with sustainable development is... it's sort of on a macro level, but working at GAP I'm able to look at the micro factors that do affect sustainability and how we live our lifestyles and how that affects communities and our culture as well. So that's I think those are the interesting things that I'm able to pick up at GAP in the work that we do.
Morgan: Yeah, I think the post consumerism stuff is fascinating is one of the things that really drew me to GAP as well is that that there's an understanding there that the root causes of, of climate change, of the nature crises, you know, it comes back to overconsumption of natural resources but also over overconsumption by quite an actual small percentage of the global population. That sort of the top sort of 10% using way, way, way more than, than anybody ever has in the course of history, let alone when you look at the global picture.