Page 1

Green Christmas

Embrace the festive-frenzy with ecofriendly & ‘make-your-own’ gift ideas, plus donate time to a worthy cause!

Save Herbal Medicine

Max Drake sheds light on shifts in EU legislation & shares some health-boosting herbal recipes

Spice up your Raw-tumn

Don’t ditch the raw diet once the cooler months creep in... Anna Middleton shows us we can keep healthy as well as warm

Life as a Herbivore...

With vegetarians & vegans on the increase, how do we ensure that our diets remain kind to the environment?

Fracking the Country

Unearth the latest on this controversial technique to extract fossil fuels

Issue No. 18 Autumn 2013

Unique fashion, designed and made in Somerset, UK T: 07511 398553

Inspired by the freedom to just be yourself, this quirky alternative collection of knit wear is innovative and bursting with individuality

Pg 15 Anna Middleton’s Delicious Raw Thai Noodle Soup!

The Coach House 2 Upper York Street Bristol BS2 8QN 07767 112 964

Magazine Coordinator/Editor: Sharon Henshall Sub-Editor: Rebecca Day Production Editor: Sharon Henshall Cover Image: Heather Murphy Artworkers: Becky Cooke & Charlotte Biszewski

Contributors: Sharon Henshall/Rebecca Day Andy Melhuish/Charlotte Biszewski Beth Taylor-Patterson/Sam Coles Gauri Kangai/Jayadevi (Julie Bladon) Max Drake/Anna Middleton

Advertising: Sharon Henshall


5 6



Green Christmas

16 Spice up your Raw-tumn

Eco-gift ideas for your loved ones.

Give a little time this Christmas and support those working hard to help those in need.

With European law encroaching on the plant-based medicine industry, Max Drake explains how we can help, giving us some top herbal tips for this season.

Increasing numbers are becoming vegetarians and vegans, but how do we ensure our diets remain kind to the environment? Rebecca Day gets digging...

16 Fracking the Country

Andy Melhuish unearths the latest, controversial news on fracking - a technique used to extract fossil fuels.

Yoga Nidra kisses us goodnight as Jayadevi reveals this method of deep relaxation.

REGULARS 2 Welcome

Editor, Sharon Henshall welcomes you to our autumn edition of Inspired Times.

5 Green Gifts

From pants enhancing better working conditions, to yoga activity cards

for kiddies, our guide is brimming with gifts that shine with green credentials.

8 Spirituality

Catch up on the all latest spiritually uplifting events and read about Amma’s (hugging saint!) impressive charity work in the run up to her annual visit to London.

No part of this magazine can be reproduced without consent. All rights reserved. No responsibility will be accepted for errors or omissions, or comments made by writers or interviewees.

ISSN 2041-0786

16 Inspiring Getaways

© Inspired Times

14 Sweet Dreams

Anna Middleton reveals how we can use spices to bring some warmth into a raw diet over the cooler months.

22 Life as a Herbivore...

Charlotte Biszewski gives us some unique ‘make-your-own’ gift ideas.

12 Save Herbal Medicine!

Beth Taylor-Patterson uncovers eco- communities to stay in & disability-friendly breaks across the UK & Europe.

18 Creativity

Charlotte Biszewski opens our eyes to the wonderful world of print making, life drawing and contemporary artist, Louise Bourgeois.

19 Communities

Andy Melhuish explores a tentedvillage with a sustainable ethos and investigates how literacy lessons are turning around prisoners’ lives.

Feel inspired by the Big Green Home Show to make your home more energy-efficient, or embrace the sun drenched celebrations in Indonesia for BaliSpirit 2014!

Whether its painting your car green or giving your bike an electric boost, Gauri Kangai updates us on news which is rocking the eco-world.

20 Exciting Events 2013

27 Eco-news

28 Inspiring Individuals

Charlotte Biszewski gets absorbed in coversation with Dan Glass - a revolutionary character who puts social justice at the heart of his actions.

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013




spreading the spirit of inspired times As leaves lead the way by gently falling from the trees, autumn is about clearing clutter and letting go of the old. By looking both internally and externally we can create space for life to unfold in new and fresh ways. With each issue of Inspired Times I’m touched by the unbridled enthusiasm it ignites in whoever works alongside me, and by how each person brings their own unique creativity to the content and illustration. The team constantly changes but the spirit remains steady – almost like the leaves which renew, whilst the tree stands strong. Heather’s lovely autumn cover is a collage of all she loves about this season... colours, nature and leaves blowing in the wind. As we waft throughout this issue’s pages, we hope you will be uplifted by the array of interesting articles which burst from its pages. Our ‘Green Christmas’ section will get you in the mood for a heartfelt festive season of volunteering, ethical gifts and make-your-own ideas. Max Drake shares his herbal remedies whilst Jayadevi evokes deep relaxation with her Yoga Nidra article. Anna Middleton’s ‘Spice up your Raw-tumn’ gives top tips on ways to bring warmth to raw food, as well as tasty recipes which spice things up. Her Thai Noodle Soup looks delicious and it’s hard to believe that the noodles are courgettes!

And it doesn’t stop there! Rebecca Day digs around to uncover the truth behind maintaining a sustainable plant-based diet in ‘A life as a Herbivore’ and Andy Melhuish unearths the latest on fracking... a topic regularly hitting the headlines at present. Charlotte Biszewski interviews Dan Glass for our Inspiring Individual piece, and becomes infected by his deeprooted passion for campaigning against injustice. With 2014 just around the corner, what better time to stay present than during the coming months – increasing our awareness of old habits which no longer serve us? Ending this year lighter and more joyful will unquestionably make a positive impact on those around us. This fragrance of inner peace can drift far and wide... now that really will ensure a happy New Year!

Sharon Henshall

(Magazine Coordinator/Editor)


Max Drake

Jayadevi’s (Julie Bladon) spiritual journey started by pure chance almost 20 years ago. Since that time she has been guided to study Lomi Lomi bodywork in Australia and Hawaii, having the honour to work with Hawaiian elders. World travels and journeys to India led Jayadevi onto yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram in Tamil Nadu, Southern India.

Having been involved in herbal medicine for a number of years, Max Drake is continuously applying new ideas and research to medical practices and traditions in order to benefit his patients.

Her practice is very much heart based and intuitive, creating a supportive, sacred space for self-acceptance, self-care and healing. Jayadevi is currently writing an illustrated children’s book, to share some of the knowledge she has gained from her spiritual trainings and world travels. Her dedication to travelling continues; she explores other


cultures and experiences life as fully as possible. Jayadevi is based in Devon, teaching regular yoga classes, Yoga Nidra workshops, offering Lomi Lomi bodywork and running retreats. In this issue of Inspired Times she shares with us the deeply nourishing relaxation that Yoga Nidra inspires. You can purchase her guided meditation downloads and CDs via her website.

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013

Based at the Urban Fringe Dispensary in Bristol, Max believes through using plantbased medicine, the body is given an opportunity to heal itself – rather than being overpowered by pharmaceuticals.

Providing a holistic perspective on health, the practice aims to address the causes, as well as alleviating the symtoms. Max places a strong emphasis on maintaining wellbeing and preventing illness through the use of herbal medicines. As well as giving treatments, Max also teaches herbal medicine courses, drawing on traditional herbal practices influenced by his recent research. Max will be enlightening us in this issue of Inspired Times about the current situation surrounding the herbal medicine industry and the shift in European legislation. With high hopes for keeping herbalism alive, he also shares some autumn remedies to boost our health throughout the colder months ahead.

Unique fashion, designed and made in Somerset, UK T: 07511 398553

Inspired by the freedom to just be yourself, this quirky alternative collection of knit wear is innovative and bursting with individuality

give a little time The festive season is a time for giving, so let’s offer our support to charities who give tirelessly to those in need. Here are a couple of volunteer opportunities to get you started – also look locally for many more worthy causes! Spread the Christmas spirit this year...

The Food Chain

What is the application process?

What volunteer roles do you have over Christmas?

Fill out an online application asap, and provide two referees. Once the references have been received, the prospective volunteers will be invited to an induction evening. You must attend an induction and complete our food hygiene quiz (if relevant to your role). It is highly recommended that all Kitchen Assistants complete at least one normal Sunday kitchen shift before the Christmas Day shift.

On Christmas Day, a festive hot lunch, pudding and lighter meal will be lovingly prepared, cooked and delivered to our Service Users (HIV affected people) by volunteers out of our three kitchens. Lead Cook: If preparing Christmas dinner is your time to shine, why not up the stakes this year and prepare a festive meal for around 50? Supervisor: Are you the kind of person who has bought and wrapped all your Christmas gifts by mid July? If so then the Supervisor role is calling you!   Kitchen Assistants: For those who are more of a ‘cut out gingerbread men shapes’ than ‘make the dough’ kind of cook. Drivers: Fancy playing Rudolph this year? Together with a Navigator you’ll deliver hot meals to between 8-10 addresses within a 12 mile radius of one of our kitchens.  Navigators: Fancy playing Santa this year? You’ll be the one who’ll actually hands our scrummy Christmas meal to our Service User. Where are these positions based? The kitchen locations for the Christmas Day roles are King’s Cross, Kentish Town and East Dulwich. Drivers and Navigators will be delivering to addresses within a 12 mile radius of any of the three kitchens.

Age UK What volunteer roles do you have over Christmas? Age UK shops could not operate without its army of volunteers. Christmas is an exceptionally busy time for Age UK as people often like to have a pre-Christmas clear out and donate their clothes and goods to our shops while others will be hunting for festive bargain gifts. Volunteers are needed to fill a range of roles such as customer service, window dressing, shelf display, stock taking, operating tills, sorting through stock, pricing, recycling, administration, driver, marketing and promotions, managing cash and banking. Where are these positions based? There are 440+ Age UK shops across the country with volunteer opportunities for all ages and all levels of experience. The shop manager for each shop will recruit and manage its volunteers so they could be anywhere in the country. What is the application process? Age UK does not have a central application process for our shop volunteers. Each shop recruits, manages and vets its own volunteers. For specific information about volunteering at our shops, please visit your local shop and ask to speak with the manager. Applicants are required to complete an application and we will ask for two references.


inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

Crisis at Christmas What volunteer roles do you have over Christmas? If you are homeless or living in hostel accommodation, Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time. Crisis at Christmas provide centres across London between 23th and 30th December that offer vital companionship, hot meals and warmth, and a wide range of essential services that homeless people often miss out on. You can sign up as a General Volunteer or join one of our Service, Logistics, Activities or Entertainment teams. Where are these positions based? Crisis is a national charity and our Christmas centres currently operate in London, Newcastle and Edinburgh. What is the application process? Registration to volunteer will open on the 14th October. Apply early to ensure you receive your preferred shifts.

Christmas Eco Prayer (to the rhythms of the Lord’s Prayer)

Our Gaia, your Winter Solstice heralds Christmas time. Stars in our eyes, fire in our hearts, on earth, as it is in visions. Grant us the Great Christmas Blessing birthing, joy, love, peace & oneness. An everlasting carol sung each New Year to unite culture & creation in a Christmas spirit passion. For ours is the power to create such a future. Real reverence for Earth. Ann Palmer

green gifts

Yoga Pretzels: 50 fun yoga activities for kids (cards) - £9.99

Yoga needn’t be just for stressed parents – kids can also stay flexible and healthy with this collection of colourful activity cards. 50 positions and techniques make the basics fun, and open up a whole world of mental and physical possibility that every young person will love. With easy-tofollow pictures, your little one will be mastering the ‘down dog’ in no time!

Inspired Times 2014 Calendar + Inspired Times Magazine – £16.00

With such a beautiful array of artwork created for our covers over the past 4 years, we’ve been inspired to pick some for a 2014 wall calendar. Be delighted each month by the stunning illustrations, all complimented by an uplifting quote. Purchase alone for £12 or add the current autumn issue or winter issue (Jan-March) for an extra £4.

Embrac e the Green friendly fest Christm plus & ‘make- ive-fren zy with as donate you time r-own’ gift ecoto a worthy ideas, cause! Sav Max Drake e Herba EU legi sheds ligh l Medic ine t on health- slation boostin & sha shifts in g her res som bal rec e Don Spi ipes month’t ditch thece up you us we s creep in...raw diet r Raw-tu once can kee mn Ann p hea a Middletthe cooler lthy as on sho well as warws Wit Life m increash vegeta as a He rians rbiv e, diets remainhow do we & vegans ore... on ens kind to the ure tha the environ t our Unearth ment? Fra the late cking the Cou techniqu st on e to this controv ntry extract ersial fossil fuels

www .insp Issue No. iredtime 18 Autu smagazi mn 2013

Who Made Your Pants? – £21.50

Created from fabrics that would otherwise be wasted, Who Made Your Pants? is an ethical company prioritising human rights, with profits creating better working environments for women. So, no need to get your knickers in a twist this Christmas – check out this luxurious range of vibrant, as well as patterned and fun styles!

Castor Trowel – £32.00

Slugs and snails, slither away quickly from these copper tools! Rust-resistant and handsomely designed, this soil-friendly trowel will stay cleaner and maintain its glow over many years – whether it’s digging away in your allotment or vegetable patch. Boasting an array of other items, your tool shed will soon be looking as good as your flower beds!

Elephant Brand Ruck Sack – £35.00

Fashionable and fun, Elephant Brand offers a range of items made specially from recycled cement bags. Strut down the street with a funky backpack or impress your friends with an iPad cover; for every purchase, Elephant Brand donate a schoolbag to a child in a developing country. How often do you get to look good, whilst changing young lives?

Oxfam Unwrapped: Girl Power (£12) + Save Trees (£14)

Girl Power: Oxfam are standing up for women around the world, and so can you by giving women some well-deserved power. This gift pioneers women’s rights through education and training, tackling issues such as domestic violence and land inheritance whilst helping women become leaders in their own communities. Save Trees: Training communities in forest management skills, this gift will make the air we breathe a little sweeter. So branch out with your gift ideas this Christmas and help raise awareness of the crucial need to protect our trees.

*P&P have not been included but may apply to some products.

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013


What better way to say “Merry Christmas” than with a home-made gift. Charlotte Biszewski gives us step-by-step instructions and illustrations, encouraging us to make presents for our loved ones that are resourceful, as well as unique!


very year we are encouraged and pressured to buy, buy, buy. The amount of money spent is only equalled to the number of gifts I have stored in a box under my bed. Taking time to create handmade gifts means not only finding use for the old, but also it can be fun to do with friends, organising preChristmas craft days. Any excuse to avoid the usual Christmas-eve high street mania!

Recycled Book Bags Make use of your unread library. Old, hard back books can have ornate front covers and can make unique and quirky accessories – get personal by using the receiver’s favourite book choice. *Take care not to deface any limited or collectors editions!


Cut out circles from a magazine, fold in half then glue 8 together (halfto-half) to make a sphere which can be hung from a tree.

u u u u u u u


Use old food wrappers to create tinsel.


Quick Tree Decorations

3. Home-made tin can lanterns – nail holes into an old tin can and hang.

1 old book A piece of fabric – about the same size as the book when laid flat, plus some smaller extras (the size of twice the spine) A long length of ribbon or chain – for a bag strap Extra ribbon & buttons to make a clasp Heavy card A glue-gun A box-cutter/craft knife Cut carefully along the inside cover of the book – you want to remove the inner pages of the book being careful not to damage the spine.

2. Measure the spine of the book and cut a rectangle of cardboard to fit. Cover the cardboard with the fabric you have chosen. 3. Open the book and stand it on a piece of paper, about 15cm open. Draw around it to create a triangular shaped template. Use this to cut out the sides of the bag from your fabric, folding the fabric in half, then iron it in half lengthways to create seems. 4. Glue-gun the covered cardboard on the inside of the spine. Then glue the handle – I like to use a piece of heavy duty ribbon.

4. Transform old light bulbs to dainty hand painted baubles.

5. This is the tricky part... glue the fabric to the inside of the book cover. I start on one side, folding over the outer seam, then glue along the edge of the book – making sure to include the handle. 6. Leave to dry and it’s ready to go EXTRA TIP: Take time to iron the creases and seams of the fabric, it will give a much more professional finish.

6      inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

Hand-Made Clock

These are really simple to make – you could use a number of everyday objects and turn them into clocks. You can find the clock parts in many craft stores, or even take apart your own. u u u u

Any object – get imaginative! A flat enough piece of driftwood, MDF or an old record – Just remember it has to be flat enough for the clock parts to fit through The clock components Decorations, PVA, an old newspaper, old music scores, whatever your heart desires! Drill


Drill a hole through your object – this should be the same size as your clock movement.

2. Decide on your design. If you are using an object that you want to keep blank then do so. Try to get creative – use old newspapers to cover your MDF, paint the words of a poem on your board – anything you’d like. Leave to dry. Don’t forget to mark on the numbers! 3. You can also use old records – which come with a hole prepared. 4. Screw in the hands of the clock from the back. Then superglue a hook onto the back for hanging and your timepiece is all set. The clock is truly an ancient ancestor, with fossil evidence aging her at 35 million years old.


For a Creative Christmas

Perfect gifts for encouraging your friends and family to have a go at making their own natural products. Of course you may not be able to resist the temptation to use these beautiful kits to make your own natural Lip Balms, Bath Fizzers, Hair Serums or Clay Face Masks!

To find out more or to order:

01309 696900 Aromantic Natural Skin Care, 17 Tytler Street, Forres, Moray, IV36 1EL, Scotland. e: f: 01309 691100

inspired times   issue 18  autumn 2013      7

t love r a e h s s e n e n o h t u r t s nes s p a c e tr e n v o l e m p o o d ee r f s love s r e d n e r r u s s s e n g n i ine e b

t p m e space

Amma’s back in town...

Mata Amritanandamayi, affectionately known as ‘Amma’, is celebrating her 60th birthday this year – by continuing to embrace all who come to her, as well as launching numerous charitable and research initiatives...

Mind Body Spirit Brighton Festival Brighton – Britain’s favourite seaside town – is hosting a brand new Mind Body Spirit Festival from the 1st – 3rd November this year. Along with fabulous stalls bursting with books, crystals, treatments and the like, Mind Body Spirit speakers will host a huge variety of talks and workshops. To name but a few... the Barefoot Doctor & John Parkin’s ‘The Happiness Session’, Dr Gary Wood’s ‘Confidence Karma’ & Satish Kumar’s ‘Soil, Soul and Society’. Sprinkling even more stardust on the occasion, a magical array of performers can be found on the Free Stage throughout. From didgeridoo playing to mediumship to a shakti dance... visitors are sure to be spell bound! Be enthralled even further by the Mantra Lounge, the Love Dome and a Pop Up Temple. The Mantra Lounge is your chill out spot – put up your feet and rest into a sanctuary of calm. Guided meditations, sound healings and a huge dose of peace ‘n’ quiet will sooth your soul! The enticing sounding Love Dome is hosted by Love Coach, Cate Mackenzie whilst the Pop Up Temple will sway with joyful kirtan and mantra, as well as hosting free meditations and traditional pooja (religious ritual) demos and much more. For the full programme and to pre-book your tickets, visit

Considered a Mahatma, or ‘great soul’, Amma has spent her life spreading the message of ‘Compassion in Action’, serving humanity, and inspiring millions to follow in her footsteps. In the past forty years, Amma has embraced 33 million people worldwide, travelling from across the world, alleviating the pain of the poor, and of those suffering physically or emotionally. Amma accepts all who come to receive her embrace; consoling, listening, and offering advice. Pushing her physical body to its limits, without ever a complaint, she helps hearts to blossom, one embrace at a time. She is a beacon of light and inspiration. Growing up in Kerala, India, Amma was deeply affected by the profound suffering she witnessed. After long contemplation she concluded that whilst there is suffering, it is our responsibility to ease their pain. With this simple yet profound conviction, Amma moved forward by giving service and compassion to all beings, uniquely expressed by the motherly embrace she offers to all who seek solace in her arms. Coming from a Hindu tradition, Amma’s message is universal. She does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but to inquire into their own real nature. Amma teaches that the divine exists in everything. Realising this truth is the essence of spirituality — the means to end all suffering. Her tireless spirit to uplift others has inspired a vast network of charitable activities. While Amma is embracing thousands of people in one sitting, she is simultaneously running her volunteer-based charitable organisation ‘Embracing the World’, which engages in strengthening human rights and supporting the United Nations’ Millennium Development

“We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity, and to spread to others the love that is our inherent nature, is the true goal of human life.” 8

inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

openness t

ruth on

ruth empt love


iness freed

beingne om ss surre nder l o v e

love truth

Inspiring Events An Evening with Eckhart Tolle Date: 27th October Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm Venue: Troxy, London E1 Price: £55

Globally renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle visits London to share his profound, yet simple, teachings. His book ‘The Power of Now’ helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. His core teaching lies in the transformation of consciousness – a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. Goals. ETW has built more than 45,000 houses for the homeless, treated 2 million patients for free, created a huge network of social care projects and responded to a number of natural disasters. People inspired by Amma are actively carrying out humanitarian initiatives. Her vision, work and leadership have been praised by major media outlets, senior officials of the UN, presidents, and key figures in the battles against poverty and climate change. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus: “Amma has done more for the poor then many governments”. On 27 September, in celebration of her 60th birthday, Amma launched several new ETW projects, including the planting of 600,000 trees and pensions for 59,000 impoverished women. When asked where she gets the energy from, Amma answered: “Where there is true love, everything is effortless.” For her humanitarian work, Amma has won an accolade of international honors such as the Gandhi King Award for Non-violence in 2002, and the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award in 2006, previously presented to the Dalai Lama. Amma’s message is love, and it is the underlying principle for all she does. Amma will be returning to Alexandra Palace between 21st – 23rd October for the 26th year, where thousands of visitors will receive her unique embrace.

For more information, visit: or to find out more about Embracing the World, visit:

Satsang Intensive with Mooji Date: 15th – 18th November Time: Check website for details Venue: Battersea Arts Centre, London Price: £140

Mooji shows us how natural, simple and accessible truth is. As an embodiment of truth, he knows and shows us we are that also. He guides us in a simple and direct way, back to our Heart-Self. All are welcome to step into this fire of Self-discovery.

Dalai Lama’s Road to Peace Film Date: 2nd December Time: 7.00pm – 8.30pm Venue: St. James’s Church, London Price: £10

First-time Director, Leon Stuperich, created the ‘Road to Peace’ film following being granted unprecedented access to the Dalai Lama during a visit to the UK. This insightful documentary into the Dalai Lama’s life and work, is beautifully put together – taking you behind the scenes for an intimate portrayal of this great spiritual leader. Not to be missed!

inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013


Save Herbal Medicine Y

ou may have noticed that herbal products in most shops are increasingly looking like pharmaceuticals. This is a direct consequence of the Traditional Herbal Medicines Products Directive (THMPD), which became official in April 2011 – a piece of European jiggery pokery that is supposed to protect the consumer from unsafe products whilst ensuring that you get what you pay for. And indeed, you do get what you pay for, which is usually some sort of standardised extract of a herb or mix of herbs where the product license holder has demonstrated their product conforms to a tower of rules and regulations regarding clinical evidence, high grade manufacture and traditional use. One issue we have in the UK with this is that medical herbalists have been free to ply their trade, on and off, since Henry VIII said it was a good thing. Whilst not wanting to outlaw the practice of herbalism completely by turning it over to Big Pharma, the government have

Despite recent changes in European legislation, Max Drake hopes to keep herbalism alive within our day-today culture. He shares a few simple autumn remedies to boost our health. decreed that if herbalists can be officially regulated in some way, so that anyone who has the title ‘Medical Herbalist’ will be suitably qualified and trusted, then the traditional practice of herbalism can continue, with patients seeing a herbalist and getting an individual prescription made up for them according to their needs. This is supposed to make everyone happy. The problem is that the regulation doesn’t seem to be happening, and besides, it wasn’t exactly a great idea in the first place. It would exclude most of the population from the completely normal human activity of trying to help people with ordinary herbs that we’ve known about since time began, and which are perfectly safe and highly effective. It would also criminalise practitioners who haven’t gone though the official hoops to qualify as regulated herbalists, and yet who may have been practising for years quite safely. So, in the meantime many herbalists, including myself, have broadened out their practice to include teaching courses on basic herbalism, holistic diagnosis, anatomy and physiology – in order to keep the practice alive. I’ve been teaching herbal medicine courses for six years now, and am really pleased to say that demand seems to be growing each time I schedule a new course. So I’m pretty certain that no amount of red tape and regulation is going to diminish the practice of herbalism any time soon.

Thyme & Liquorice Syrup This is a traditional and very popular syrup for coughs and chesty infections at this time of year. Thyme contains an anti-infective essential oil, thymol, which is excreted through the lungs, whilst liquorice root is an expectorant, acting upon mucous membranes, lessening irritation and relieving coughs and catarrhs. There are dozens of different recipes for this popular syrup, and here’s a simple and effective one that can be made in any kitchen.

Liquorice root (cut) Thyme herb (dried) Water Sugar (white, granulated)

75g 100g 1.5 Litres 1.8kg

Place the cut liquorice root in the water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding either fresh or dried thyme herb for the last 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and when cool enough to handle, press

10      inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

through a muslin cloth and sieve. Purists among you might also want to filter the resulting liquid through a standard coffee filter, to remove any remaining bits of herb. Put the liquid back into a saucepan, simmer and reduce down to 1 litre. Add all the sugar and keep stirring until it is completely dissolved. Wait for it to cool for a bit and then bottle up into smallish bottles. This will make quite a lot of syrup with the main cost being the bottles. The reason for using small syrup bottles (100ml) is to minimise the amount of time syrup is exposed to the air. Once opened you need to keep it in the fridge, where it will keep for 6 months or so. By making it in this quantity you can give loads to friends and family.

Horseradish for your Sinuses The bushy dark green leaves of horseradish (Amoracia rusticana) are often found growing wild in city allotments, parks and gardens. Best known for its hot, pungent and fleshy taproot, it can grow up to 60 cm long. Harvested from early autumn through to spring, leave some in the ground, so it will grow again next year.

bit - but hidden within is something that, over time, can heal the problem by getting to the cause of it.

A compound called sinigrin is the key to the horseradish root’s many medicinal properties. When the root’s cells are damaged by cutting, grating or chewing, enzymes convert sinigrin to allyl isothiocyanate – otherwise known as mustard oil, and this accounts for the pungency and heat. The oil is destroyed by cooking, so horseradish is only really beneficial when used raw and the fresh root is way hotter than the stuff you get in bottles. The oil also breaks down and loses its pungency after about twenty minutes of exposure to air, so it needs to be prepared quite soon after chopping if you want to preserve it.

When preparing horseradish – a word of warning here – proceed slowly as it will make your eyes water! After thoroughly cleaning the roots and scraping off the outer cortex, put it in a blender. I usually wear a swimming mask and breathe through a snorkel at this point in the proceedings, particularly when taking the blender’s lid off.

Like all herbs, the root contains many different compounds, some of which work in harmony with the strong stimulant oils in order to produce a therapeutic effect. It is particularly beneficial for sinusitis and sinus type headaches, as well as being useful for treating coughs and colds. Research has demonstrated antibacterial activity and this may account for why it is so effective in helping with sinus problems. The pungency seems to irritate the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages and sinuses, and can make you stream a

Grate/blend fresh root, let sit for 3 minutes to allow enzymatic reaction to occur. Put it in a sterilised jar and add sufficient raw honey to cover. Allow to stand at room temperature for 4 weeks, and then strain out through some muslin cloth. Keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge, using about a tablespoon whenever you feel like you need it.

For treating sinus problems, headaches, and colds, I prefer to use a syrup, as this will keep for several months in the fridge, preserving the properties of the fresh root.

To make an easy syrup:

It is best to avoid using horseradish if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Rosehips for a Vitamin Hit Rosehips are the elliptical red berries you find at this time of year on Dog Rose or Wild Rose. They are the ones you get itching powder from when you split them open and sprinkle the fine-haired seeds down the back of someone’s shirt. Not that I’d particularly recommend this form of playground bullying in this day and age, but harking back to bygone days of mysterious and irritating rashes, indignation and sworn vengeance, rosehips have definitely left their mark on many folk. The good thing about rosehips though is that they contain loads of vitamin C, possibly up to 40 times more than you’ll get in imported oranges, plus plentiful vitamins A and B. Rosehip syrup was rationed during the war years and people were encouraged to go out and harvest the hips to make their own, so it was highly valued, and really became a household staple after the war. When foraging, ideally pick your rosehips when they are just going soft, maybe after the first frost. If you get them earlier whilst they’re still hard you can slit the skins with a sharp knife before processing them.

Rosehip Vinegar: Cram a load of washed rosehips into a jar and cover them in cider or pear vinegar. Leave them on a sunny window sill for four to six weeks and then strain and bottle. This is great for colds and sore throats, and also makes a nice salad dressing.

Rosehip Syrup: Use a big jar. Lots of washed rosehips, scored. Sprinkle a layer of white refined granulated sugar on the bottom of the jar. Put a half inch layer of rosehips on top. Another layer of granulated sugar, then another half inch of rosehips, and so on until you get to the top of the jar. Put it on the same sunny windowsill, and after a while all the sugar will have liquefied, extracting all of the goodness out of the hips and into the syrup. Strain off and bottle. It should keep without any preservative all through the winter with no need to refrigerate. This is a great source of vitamin C, particularly for children, and they will love it.

Max Drake is a Medical Herbalist practising in Bristol. inspired times   issue 18  autumn 2013      11

Sweet Dreams are made of this... Goodnight sweetheart! Jayadevi shows us how Yoga Sleep (Yoga Nidra) can kiss our soul by sinking us into a deep, sublime relaxation. Yoga Nidra made a massive impact on me from the start... I vividly remember how the first session seemed to pass in no time. In fact I thought I’d been meditating for five minutes rather than the full hour that had passed. I felt fully relaxed and tranquil and my yoga friends also experienced this same sweet sensation. This wonderful experience led me to explore Yoga Nidra in a deeper way. Through my research and experiences I began to understand that Yoga Nidra is a method that enables complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation.

guide through the eight stages of the meditation which includes sankalpa (setting a positive intention affirmation), awareness of breath, sense perception and visualisation.

Yoga Nidra, derived from the tantric scriptures, means ‘union’ (Yoga) and ‘sleep’ (Nidra). Whilst it may appear that you are asleep, Yoga Nidra enables you to go into a deep relaxation with inner awareness. Swami Satyananda Saraswati describes Yoga Nidra as: ‘Relaxation by one-pointedness of the mind... in which all emotions are brought to the surface and whatever type they are, throw them out. Complete relaxation is brought to every part of the body... through willpower. In this lies the secret of self healing. In Yoga Nidra we deal with the underlying causes (of tension)’.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati recalls when a little boy presented himself at his ashram for sannyasa [taken by individuals to dedicate their life to spiritual pursuits]. “I wanted to send him to school but he flatly refused. He was a very naughty boy, an absolute monkey. Finally I began to use Yoga Nidra on him. I began by chanting the 15th chapter of the Gita to him – about three minutes after he had fallen asleep. Then when he got up in the morning I would have him read through the chapter, which he would do, of course, mindlessly. After one week he was able to recite the whole chapter by heart.”

Teaching Yoga Nidra is so rewarding... to see students after the session with stress, tiredness and tension erased from their faces. And the joy of it is that anyone can do it – those partaking don’t need to be an ‘expert’ as the session is fully guided, making it a great tool for everyone. Students lie in a comfortable position on a mat or rug, preferably not on your bed as your subconscious mind associates that with sleep. The student has full control over their experience as the instructor acts purely as a

By comparing regular sleep brain scans with Yoga Nidra scans, researchers have been able to see that during the Nidra meditation the participants were in a meditative state from start to finish, clearly showing the areas of the brain that were activated. The research revealed a high level of concentration throughout but with no effort involved. There was just the requirement to relax and listen to the instruction, almost like a child listening to a bedtime story.


As well as benefiting us on a physical level, it is a key for unlocking our full potential. Yoga Nidra can also be used to absorb knowledge, experience and instruction. Drawing us into a state between sleep and being awake, allows the mind to slightly withdraw and enables information to enter the mind in a powerful way increasing the chance it will be retained.

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013

Yoga Nidra can play an important therapeutic role with widespread benefits. Its practice can relieve asthma, migraines, stress-related conditions, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, hypertension. It can also be used for prevention, enabling people to lead a healthy, active life, to recharge the body and mind. The practice works well with wide ranging groups such as children, the elderly, during pregnancy and for palliative care. Recently teaching at a festival, it was heartening to see children bringing their parents along to the Yoga Nidra sessions! We can learn to trust the flow, access deeper parts of ourselves, discover our full potential. We honour the body and mind by giving it time to rest and heal. I would highly recommend trying a workshop or a recorded version of Yoga Nidra. Your body, mind and soul will fully appreciate the sweetness of this experience... Jayadevi (Julie Bladon), based in Devon, teaches regular Yoga Nidra workshops & has released a guided meditation CD & downloads.

Sensory Herbcra Apprenticeship Come and Reconnect with your local Plants This initial one-year Apprenticeship is designed to introduce you to the Ancient, Magic and Practical art that is Herbal Medicine. You will learn to communicate with the plant world and create beautiful remedies, using all of your senses, for the treatment of yourself, your friends and your family. Come on this journey to be guided through the elements represented in each season and follow the path through the riches of the plant world: URRWVOHDYHVÀRZHUVVHHGV This one-year course is made up of 4 residential, fully-catered weekend seminars. There will also be the option of additional trips and apprentice days. You will compile your own Herbal Materia medica of the plants covered on the course. This involves detailed observations through drawings, photos, pressing parts and making notes to create your beautiful book.


)&3& FNBJM

Investment: ÂŁ1300. Location: YHA Lea Valley Village, Hertfordshire EN8 9AJ. |

Fiona 07830 195 745 |Karen 0786 508 1927


Karen and Fiona write for JUNO and have many years experience teaching and practicing with plants. Check out their articles in this addition.

Ad152x92 2013_Layout 1 10/05/2013 10:24 Page 1


Living Ayurveda

Excellence in Ayurveda training Ayurveda Academy • Ayurvedic Massage Therapy ¡ certificate ¡ 14/18 October • Ayurveda / Yoga for Birth Educators ¡ certificate ¡ 5/6/26/27 October, 8/9 November • Ayurvedic Lifestyle and Diet ¡ diploma 6-mth, 150-hrs, 4-modules, start date September Don’t just take our word for it, read what our students say! ‘Dear [Tri-Dosha], you are an inspiration and a true wonder. This course has been pivotal for me, both personally and professionally and I need to say a huge thank you.’ Love and Light, Sue ‘[Tri-Dosha] what can I say? Fantastic, amazing, wonderful, enlightening, fulfilling. This course is one of my absolute top rated, I enjoyed every aspect. Thank you so very, very much.’ Best wishes, Amanda

t +44 (0)20 8566 1498 e w

Follow us on

spice up your Anna Middleton shows us that there’s no need to ditch the raw diet once the cooler months creep in. We can keep healthy as well as warm.


ith winter peeking its head around the corner and the temperature dropping, the last thing we may be thinking about is eating raw foods. It’s one thing to have salads, juices and smoothies when the sun is high in the sky and there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, but what kind of recipes can we create for the cold months ahead? Not only do we need to bring comfort from what we consume, but also be able to ward off illness and maintain good energy levels.

finding a raw balance The balance of raw and cooked foods that we eat shifts naturally as the seasons change, but the changes also depend on our individual needs. What works well for some may not for others. It’s an important time of year to turn our focus inwards and recognise what is right for us. As our lymphatic system becomes more congested and slows down in the cooler weather, it’s beneficial to keep warm, rest well and remain hydrated. Incorporating plenty of herbal teas and medicinal foods in our diet helps boost our immune system and nurture our kidneys at this time

of year. Medicinal mushroom extracts such as Chaga and Reishi can now be found with ease and are an extremely easy and nutritious addition to our diet. Yes, there are benefits from including raw foods in our diet over winter as they can keep our immune system strong to fight off colds and infections but it’s natural that we may not fancy eating something cold.

ways to bring warmth If we choose to maintain a good intake of raw foods, there are many ways that we can bring warmth to raw dishes. Avoid eating fruit & vegetables straight from fridge, leave at room temperature instead.

Root vegetables (carrots, squash, parsnips, beetroot, sweet potatoes)

Add a large chunk of ginger to fresh green juices.

Herbs & Spices (cinnamon, cloves, cayenne, coriander, chilli, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, garlic, mustard)

Add hot water to raw soups & sauces to warm them up.


Mix raw and cooked foods together (e.g. raw curry sauce over brown rice or sweet potato).

Pine Nuts

Use warming spices such as chili, ginger, garlic, cayenne, coriander or turmeric.

Maca Chaga Chai (Serves 1) 25g shelled hemp seeds 1 tsp chaga powder (extract) 2 tsp maca 30g coconut oil seeds from ½ vanilla pod (or a few drops of vanilla extract) ¼ tsp cinnamon 2g of coconut sugar (or use sweetener of choice) pinch of mineral salt 200ml water (mix 100ml cold with 100ml hot filtered water) Blend all ingredients together & adjust the sweetness to suit your taste.


foods that create warmth

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013


Coconut Dates Tropical fruits: (bananas, mango, papaya)

raw-tumn Spiced Apple Tea A lovely warming tea to help boost your immune system and keep colds away. Share with your friends on a chilly day!

medicinal foods Here is a small selection of some of the medicinal foods available to us and wonderful additions to our diet. Only very small quantities are needed... so a little goes a long way! Ashwaganda – reduces stress, boosts immune system and improves memory.

Turmeric – anti inflammatory, boosts immune system and nourishes the liver.

Maca Root – immune system booster, increases energy, strength and stamina.

Chaga Mushroom – amongst other benefits this is a powerful antioxidant which boosts our immune system

He Shou Wu – nourishes our blood, as well as supporting our liver and kidneys.

Purple Corn Extract – contains CG3, a potent antioxidant.

1 large jug 2 apples, sliced 1 small chunk of ginger 1 stick of cinnamon juice of ½ lemon 2 medjool dates (optional) – some find that the apple gives enough sweetness. Place all ingredients in jug and fill with hot water.

Reishi Mushroom – boosts immune system, builds energy and calms the mind.


Due to a lot of the new laws in the EU, it is becoming increasingly difficult to talk about the benefits of some of the most natural and healing foods available to us. But these foods can really help support and nourish us without the need to radically change our diet. It’s a good idea to research the benefits of foods such as chaga and reishi and make up your own mind. Anna Middleton, Holistic Nutrition Coach & Raw Food Chef. She offers consultations and gives workshops.

Apples – high in anti-oxidants. Lemon – high in Vitamin C which aids digestion and has an alkalising affect in the body. Also cleanses the liver and kidneys. Cinnamon – great for cold relief as it’s anti-viral so helps fight infection. Also assists in reducing blood sugar levels and helps boost brain activity. Ginger – soothes intestines, reduces nausea and has anti-oxidant, anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory agents. Increases heat and sweating plus aids detoxification.

Thai Noodle Soup (Serves 2)

For the noodles: Spirilize 2 courgettes (or grate if don’t have a spirilizer) Cover courgette noodles with tamari and marinate whilst making dressing.

Sauce: 1 tsp vegan red curry paste 1 tbsp tamari juice of 1 lime (can also grate some of rind in for more zesty flavour) 1 tin coconut milk (or 100g coconut flakes blended with 300ml filtered water) 2 kaffir lime leaves

1 handful coriander ½ carrot ½ red pepper 1 fresh chili (or ½ if they are super hot) small slice of ginger pinch of salt 1 tsp coconut sugar (or add 1 date) blend all ingredients together with 100ml hot water Pour sauce over noodles & serve!

Variations Add julienne carrots / spring onions and sliced mushrooms. Try mixing in some kelp noodles with the courgette.

inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013


inspiring getaways by Beth Taylor-Patterson

volunteering in eco-communities

Be part of something special, add green skills to your repertoire and meet like-minded people – what better way to use holiday time than by immersing yourself in a thriving eco-community?

A blossoming interest in eco-living is changing the way we think. This radical reassessment is pertinent to all manner of things and is an ethos we can seek even in the commercial mayhem of the tourism industry. Inspired Times urges soul seekers to ditch generic package holidays and head for more sustainable shores. Visiting an eco-community is a fulfilling experience which may just alter your outlook on our world and the way you operate in it. Whether seeking an alternative way of life or merely flirting with the idea of sustainable living, eco-communities give you the chance to take part in something revolutionary. Back-dropped by the tumultuous North Sea, Scotland’s Findhorn Foundation community – – balances spiritual awakening and environmental protection in a fiercely beautiful landscape. A working eco-village, Findhorn’s approachable attitude asks only that visitors come with an openness and willingness to experience something new. And there is a lot to experience, from short-term stays to Experience Weeks, visitors choose between a wide range of workshops and events. “We intend to begin with a willingness to have some of our deepest assumptions about ourselves and others questioned,” explains Yasko Takahashi, our contact at Findhorn, when describing their approach. As well as a strong environmental influence, Findhorn addresses sustainability in a way which focuses on the social and spiritual. Guests can really get stuck in, participating in service departments, community activities and sharing meals – all real accompaniments to meditation and self discovery. Heading to warmer climates, Terramada, Portugal – – is an ecovillage involved in the development of permaculture and self-sustainability projects. An uplifting regression from the clenches of capitalism this community asks that volunteers work in exchange for accommodation and use of their facilities. Set on Lake Beliche in the Algarve, a hard day’s toil is rewarded with a soul cleansing trip to the sacred sweat lodge. With the serene mission of sharing extraordinary moments with nature, getting back to your roots in the open air is refreshingly therapeutic and the perfect place for peaceful contemplation. You can also get involved as a guest, camping on site or opting for a unique stay in a quirky clay tipi or bamboo hut for very reasonable prices.

16      inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013

For Nordic souls, Icelandic shores beckon you to the world’s oldest self sufficient community. Thousands flock to Sólheimar – www. – each year to learn about sustainable living and see those with and without special needs working together, fully integrated in this modern thinking and inclusive community. A study of the village’s renewable energy, agricultural and economic set up provides inspirational proof that sustainable living is a real alternative to today’s conglomerate lifestyle. Craft workshops offer guests the chance to hone their practical skills, recycling and reusing natural materials to produce unique and useful products. “People gain socially and culturally as well as learning and feeling joy,” explains Axel Benediktsson, who has lived at Solheimar for four years. Shortterm options are popular, or adventurous types apply to volunteer for up to a year, participating in the full range of community life. In recent years the Occupy Movement has drawn a wealth of media attention, calling us to rethink exactly what it means to be in the 99%. Refreshing political attitudes are in full flow at these eco-communities where consensus based decisions are a positive example of what it means to be a true democracy. Experiencing these approaches can have an impact back home too, leading one to reconsider both professional and personal relationships. Naturally, the inspiring people who are actually ‘living it’ are the best folk to learn from if you want to make a positive change in your life. As well as time to reflect on the self, the allure of these experiences lies in real opportunities to discover practical lifelong skills whilst giving back to a community. Before embarking on your eco-journey be sure to contact each community you intend to visit. For the people who live there this isn’t a tourism destination but a fully functioning way of life. And be it monetary donations or getting your hands dirty, make sure you know, not just what to expect, but what is expected of you. There really is something to be said for eating food you helped harvest, or sleeping in a hut you helped build. And after living it for a week you may go home to find you don’t need half as much electricity as you thought you did. So take a trip which nourishes both soul and mind and educate yourself in a way of life. And, unlike a suntan, what you take away from this holiday will last a lifetime.

disability getaways In 2012 the Paralympics proved that drive and determination are more powerful forces than disability. Britain today is at the forefront of changing attitudes, challenging the drawbacks and stream-rolling the potential which a disability, be it mental or physical, can bring. Already a step ahead, a wealth of camps and lodgings are popping up all over Britain. Hosting a wide range of adapted activities which suit the wants and interests of each family member, these inclusive holidays are run by dedicated support workers who will bend over backwards to ensure the whole family get the break they deserve. Having a child with autism can make holidays a daunting prospect. But the family-run Thomas Centre – – has come up with a personal response to this very real problem. After experiencing these difficulties firsthand, they have created a welcome retreat for families affected by autistic spectrum disorder. Luxury lodgings are set in 24 acres of magnificent Lincolnshire countryside, catering for those with other disabilities too. Boasting a play park with adult sized equipment, go karts, an indoor pool and

a multi-room with gym and sensory equipment, this dynamic getaway promises judgement free fun with activities to suit all interests. Running with the outdoor theme are the Calvert Trust – – who operate Activity Centres in three locations – Exmoor, the Lake District and Kielder – complete with fully accessible facilities to welcome any disability. “Guests tell us they gain self-confidence, self-esteem, life enrichment and a sense of achievement from overcoming challenges on an activity break with us,” states Rob Lott, spokesperson for Calvert Exmoor. Rushing down zip-wires, abseiling stomach churning heights and navigating rivers from the comfort of a canoe, the centre’s ‘you can do it’ attitude opens doors for all. “Our participants left with some very special memories and a new lease of life for the future; an invaluable gift,” confirms Jo Sheasby from the Back Up Trust. Equally as we get older venturing out alone develops confidence, but the practicality of this for those with physical and learning difficulties can be troublesome. Luckily a quick look online uncovers a wealth of opportunities for disabled adults too. The NAS website – – has a comprehensive list of disability friendly organisations to ensure no-one has to miss out on the fun.

by Charlotte Biszewski

the puzzle of printmaking...

confessions of a life model

Printmaking, a strange and ambiguous term, can often befuddle folk, conjuring up childhood memories of crudely cut shapes carved into the starchy halves of raw potatoes or the whirring of an inkjet printer lethargically slumped on their desktop. Setting aside the specialist inks and machinery, printmaking is not a huge leap from potato stamps. In unromantic terms it is simply a way of reproducing multiples (or prints) of a single image. Just imagine, the antique relics discovered in dust-covered museums and obscure artist’s studios were once state-of-the-art machinery, new innovation and exciting leaps in technology. From the risqué advertising of the Moulin Rouge to politically challenging etchings of Goya, and the woodcut Latin American banners of revolution, printmaking and its art has been at the forefront of a changing society and the spread of information.

Figure drawing is an important foundation in art – how can we attempt to portray the bare reality of the world without expressing the human figure, a shape that we all mutually inhabit in some form? I can never understand why nudity is a contended subject. A huge array of issues arise: the difference between the male and female nudes (yes, we are different down there), its sexual implications, questions of body shape and image. From personal experience nothing mentally obliterates the for-mentioned debates quite like disrobing in a room full of strangers.

Wood carvings ­– one of the earliest ways people made reproducible images – originated in Japan and still print-makers hold up Japanese artists in awe as a stream of inspiration. Long and laborious, a method of teasing out an image from within the grain. It has to be admired how some can take an inanimate material, run their hands along the natural and long grown grooves of its surface, and create such beauty. Call me old fashioned, but I doubt you can achieve an equal statement of sentiment from ‘Photoshop’ regardless of whether it has a woodcut effect available. International printmakers show a strong sense of identity, Kathe Kollwitz’ dark rough hacks of German Expressionism, shrouded in black; Antonio Frasconi’s lively and joyous Latin American images of colour; or English rural scenes and twee marking of John Lawrence. I love the pungent odour of turpentine and the old-fashioned presses which remind me of Victorian eras – nothing gets me quite like the indentations of black inked letterpress type on an off-white Zerkall paper. I am a massive geek, and have nothing but remorse for the decrease in print forms and publications. Now an expensive pastime, only a few have the time and means to sustain and preserve these dated techniques. In today’s warp-speed world, where we look for instant gratification and instant outcomes, traditional printing trundles along behind. It may be time to lay down your copper plates and v-gouges but for technophobes like me it is hard to embrace the cold lifeless shoulder of technology. Though the possibilities of 3D and digital advances have their advantages I still opt for back-ache and gouged fingers over Repetitive Strain Injury any day...


inspired times issue 18 autumn 2013

Undeniably the minutes leading up are a rampage of nerves, fumbling the threads of the white robe and mentally visualising a whole wealth of ways to embarrass yourself. An array of insecurities greet you – some old friends as well as new, lurking unsuspectedly in the depths! The moment arises and you step out of your mindset, shedding that warm fluffy comfort blanket of self-doubt and you are out, on show with no escape. Only then, you realise that no one notices what you look like, or who you are – your body is merely a subject. From the other side of the canvas, imperfection is interesting and variety truly spices up life-drawing. An experience I recommended – a form of therapy which can shed inhibitions and destroy body-image issues. The pay’s not half-bad either.

‘spider woman’ of abstract art Pioneer, feminist, socialist, surrealist; the list of reasons why Louise Bourgeois is a creative hero is unending. Born in France in 1911 a child of two tapestry weavers, Bourgeios turned to art after her mother’s death. Themes of anxiety, loneliness and betrayal plunder through her work, influenced by the anger felt towards her philandering father and the affairs he had whilst her mother was dying. Despite this, an illustrious strength is prevalent in her work. Her most notable piece titled ‘Maman’, is a magnificent spidery sculpture. Its twisted bronze thorax surges up from the long spindly legs, defying gravity and dominating the surrounding skyline. Maman, which translates as mother in French symbolises her own mother, frail but with a deep-rooted and durable tenacity. Maman, eye-catching and dazzling, strides allover the world and has resided at numerous permanent and temporary locations – she currently resides in Qatar. Many of Bourgeois’ etchings, drawings, sculptures and textiles can be found at the Tate and galleries nationwide.



by Andy Melhuish

tented-village with green ideals Green & Away sits in a tiny pocket of Worcestershire, with rows of fruit trees and wisteria delicately dividing it into secret meadows and green avenues. Perfect for camping with friends. For nine months of the year this little field is left to grow and enjoy a quiet winter. Then at the start of summer a small team returns and, like a sourdough starter, quickly expands into a large and nourishing eco-community. Within two weeks they’ve finished construction of a tented village to be proud of. This village may look very similar to the one that was there the previous year, but the differences are in the people. With a core group of 12 trustees, volunteer numbers reach up to 50 at any one time – citizens of the world, gathered. Peter Lang started Green & Away – – in the early 90s as a camping weekend for green party members. It was not long before word spread throughout the fledgling environmental movement, and pretty soon the full charity was established to offer large groups of conference delegates – up to 150 people these days – the chance to meet and live sustainably for long weekends. More organisations are making the environment one of their core values, and if they can put those values into practice during their yearly meetings then the sustainable circle is complete.

Those who work at the site have a huge passion for what it represents. “We need a tented conference centre because it has less impact on the environment and it also brings the delegates closer to the elements,” says Joy Davenport, who has been a Trustee at Green & Away for five years. “It shows that if you work with nature you can still succeed in delivering a great project.” It’s not just visitors who get a lot out of it. Locals are welcome to drop in to lend a hand, relationships with the adjacent care farm and eco cafe have proven fruitful for everyone and nearby wholefoods outlets are more than happy with the revenue that a population of up to 200 per day can bring in. Solar power heats the washing up water; wood fires keep the open-air showers steamy; PV panels and a wind turbine power the lighting and charging facilities. With all these things in place, the site can operate off-grid for the whole summer. But the key to all of this is community. And each year’s new crop of volunteers bring energy, excitement, laughs and love. Willing helpers arrive from every continent, some are passing through from afar and others have come from just down the road. Sustainable is a word used very often at Green & Away, but with potentially

disastrous climate change forever on the horizon, what hope is there for a conference centre in the already wet English countryside? “I think that long term we are the answer,” says Joy, with confidence. “We are flexible and can change with the climate conditions as well as other variables.” It is true that even in the wettest summers the conferences have never been cancelled, and work has continued on site as normal. It’s easy to see why groups come back year on year to enjoy this unique experience, and why the same is true for volunteers. “Green & Away is awesome,” says Rosie Lundberg, who returns every summer to offer her time and energy. “You get to live and work outside in a beautiful place with amazing people. Working as a team creates a strong sense of community, and new friendships are formed with the help of music and sunshine.”

teaching literacy in our prisons Shining a light in the darkness of our prison system, the Shannon Trust – www. – works with inmates to increase literacy and change lives. Employing a method called Toe-by-Toe – – the principle is to have more proficient readers mentor those of less ability. Progress happens by very small increments, but the strength of the programme comes from the fact that from the very first page all improvements are clearly seen. By working slowly and looking back over the previous lessons, what might seem like a hopeless endeavour can become a long and beautiful construction process. The Shannon Trust was started in 1997 by Christopher Morgan, who’d been in

correspondence with a prisoner named Tom Shannon. Realising that literacy amongst prisoners was at a shameful low – with 40% barely able to read and write – Christopher decided to get the educational programme to people who really needed it. Present-day CEO of the trust, David Ahern, spoke to us about what it means to him. “It’s an opportunity to be part of something that has significant impact,” says David proudly. “With only 8 staff we help 1700 mentors reach over 3000 learners in prisons per year and the level of gratitude we’ve received is off the scale. It’s incredibly humiliating for English speakers who can’t read.” Working on the principle that reading is best taught one-to-one, the Trust’s development over

the past 16 years is proof of its effectiveness – and after relying on good will for so long it has recently been made an official programme run in all prisons across the UK. Potential readers in their many thousands will now have the chance to learn. David believes that realising they can learn, after years of being told otherwise, is the key to changing prisoners’ lives. And these changes may be slow but they are all in the right direction – whether toe or step or stride – the power to read is a freedom that cannot be taken away.

inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013      19

festivals & events October 2013 VegFestUK London: 5th – 6th Kensington Olympia, London. I Can Do It!: 5th – 6th The Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow Resurgence & Ecologist Festival of Wellbeing: 12th Bishopsgate Institute, London. I Can Do It!: 12th – 13th, The Logan Hall, London. The OM Yoga Show + Mind Body Soul Experience: 25th – 27th Kensington Olympia, London The Big Green Home Show, 25th – 27th National Self Build & Renovation Centre, Swindon. York’s Big Autumn Market: 31st Oct – 3rd Nov. Parliament Street, York.

November 2013

Mind Body Spirit Festival: 1st – 3rd The Brighton Centre, Brighton. Bath Christmas Market: 28th Nov – 15th Dec. Streets of Bath. Buy Nothing Day: 30th

December 2013

Carols by Candlelight: 14th + 21st – 24th Royal Albert Hall, London.

March 2014 Ecobuild: 4th – 6th ExCeL, London. BaliSpirit Festival: 19th – 23rd. Bali, Indonesia VegFestUK Brighton: 29th – 30th The Hove Centre, Hove.

20      inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

fabulous experiences ahead... 25h-27th October: The Big Green Home Show Eco-friendly and energy efficient homes can change the face of our future and The Big Green Home Show is here to help lead the way. Presenting expert advice over the three eco-charged days, they’ll teach and show techniques on how to be more sustainable... from using solar panels and double glazing windows to different methods of house construction such as insulation in lofts and ground source heating. Not only can we cut down on our energy bills but we can also live a cleaner future! Hosted by Swindon’s National Self Build and Renovation Centre, you’ll be offered a whole new set of ideas and skills to help ‘green up’ your household. This year sees brand new and innovative features, with a new demonstration arena where you can observe the latest innovations. Be dazzled by a plethora of live demonstrations and seminars, showing off the latest green technology and products plus presentations from architects, eco consultants and home specialists. And if you are worried about spare cash, tickets are free if you book in advance. Go forth fully equipped with new knowledge, making your abode environmentally friendly for both the earth and your wallet.

19th – 23rd March: BaliSpirit Festival If you find the winter hard to bear, putting this sun-drenched festival in your diary may just ease the pain! Now in its 7th year, BaliSpirit Festival draws the wellbeing world to its beautiful shores and celebrates the synergy of global cultural collaboration through the sacred arts: from yoga, healing, and meditation to diverse, creative expressions of music and creative movement. What better way to step out of wintry stillness and embrace spring’s new beginnings? Five fabulous days see 150 daytime workshops set in the stunning, tropical surroundings of Bali, led by dozens of top international instructors, inspirational speakers, and holistic healers such as Simon Park (USA), Janet Stone (USA), Michiko Minegishi (Japan), Nadine McNeil (Jamaica) and Ronan Tang (China). Uplift and invoke a deeper connection by soaking yourselves in the ‘Bhakti Series’ of devotional music, or sway to the “One World One Stage” line-up of world class acts, all encouraging conscious living and well-being for individuals, communities and the planet. Celebrating the creativity of its island home, performances of traditional Balinese performing arts capture the spirit of this heartfelt event. Families won’t miss out as the ‘Hari Cinta Keluarga’ (We Love Family Day), honours the youngest festival-goers with special classes and creative activities. A vibrant ‘Dharma Fair’ boasts a range of deliciously wholesome fare and wares by socially and eco-conscious vendors, whilst yoga classes and a mixture of fabulous workshops draw the event’s participants together, creating many life-long friendships and happy memories. The festival’s founders have raised more than $75,000 for local charities and outreach programmes for Balinese performing arts, HIV & AIDS education, and reforestation in Bali. With such community spirit at its core, there’s no wonder BaliSpirit is going from strength to strength. Book your ticket, quoting discount code INSPIRED14, and join in the fun...

BaliSpirit photos © Matt Oldfield

The Weekend for Your Soul

GLASGOW 5–6 October, 2013 The Scottish Exhibition Centre

Spend the weekend listening to some of the most inspiring authors of today --- an unforgettable experience!

LONDON 12–13 October, 2013 The Logan Hall


An incredible line-up of Hay House authors not to be missed – we hope you can join us for this informative, inspiring and invigorating weekend! Early booking recommended. *Glasgow only **London only

Purchase tickets at or call 020 3675 2460 TREE OF LIFE A4.indd 1

20/05/2013 09:23

Life as a Herbivore Vegetarians and vegans are increasing in numbers, but how do we ensure these plant-based diets remain kind to the environment? Rebecca Day gets digging...


lobalisation has contributed largely to the food industry we know today – eating foods from different parts of the world has become entwined in our daily diets. As the world’s population numbers increase, so does its demand for food. The food supply chain encompasses more countries than ever before; products are being grown in one country, packaged in another, and consumed right here in the UK. And whilst parts of the world are addressing issues surrounding heart disease and obesity, other parts are suffering greatly from malnourishment.

According to Soil Association’s spokesperson, Natasha CollinsDaniel, there is already enough food produced today for everyone to have the nourishment they need. “One billion people are hungry, one billion are malnourished with another one billion people overweight – and these numbers are growing,” she explains. “It is predicted that there will be 9 billion people in the world by 2050. This has led some to argue that a 70% increase in food production will be needed.” Along with a growing number of international experts, she believes that organic and other agro-ecological farming systems can help the world feed itself. However, we also need to eat differently and waste less food.

vegetarians & vegans

There are many reasons why people choose to eliminate meat and dairy from their diets. With previous studies reporting that the meat industry produces half of the world’s greenhouse

22      inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

gas emissions, embarking on a journey of vegetarianism or veganism reinforces a clearer conscience; reducing our connection with an industry of animal exploitation and suffering takes a considerable weight off the shoulders. However, as a vegetarian, I increasingly question where my food comes from and what benefits it has, for both my health and the environment. Many benefits are to be reaped from becoming a herbivore. Wellbalanced, meat-free diets are generally low in saturated fats and cholesterol, therefore reducing the risk of heart-related problems. Today, we can meet our nutritional requirements through a variety of sources, allowing us to alleviate meat and fish from our diets. Omega 3 can be met through eating tofu, walnuts, rapeseed oil, flaxseed and dark green vegetables, such as spinach, whilst pulses and beans provide a sufficient amount of protein. Many nutritionists can happily talk for hours about other effective ways to get those essentials which can often go missing from a vegetarian or vegan’s diet, such as iron, calcium and zinc, as well as vitamins D and B12. The discovery of ‘superfoods’ in the raw food world has also meant that herbivores can consume more nutrients per calorie than found in most other foods. Raw foods such as hemp, chia, wheatgrass, maca and goji berries are jam-packed with impressive health benefits and can simply be added raw to dishes. Deemed a thoroughly rewarding lifestyle choice, many herbivores find that they become more creative at mealtimes, spending more time cooking and mustering up flavoursome dishes using herbs and spices, which they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Even high profile meat-loving chefs, such as Jamie Oliver, have been praising the veggie lifestyle! However, it is important to understand where these foods are coming from and how they have been sourced and manufactured. With more and

more people hopping on the herbivore band-wagon, there is a much higher demand for fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses, and superfoods. We only have to focus on issues faced globally, partly generated by an excessive meat demand, to recognise our need for plant-based foods must not add to the damage. People supplying at a local level also need to ensure the products ending up on our plate are not only benefiting us, but the environment as well.

the crisis

Soya has been making headlines in recent years. With a growing demand for soybeans, soy plantations have been wiping out and claiming vast areas of rainforests across the world, most notably the Amazon. Not only is the production of soy destroying biodiversity and polluting the environment, but it is also having a major impact on the rainforest’s indigenous people and wildlife. Communities and animal species are being displaced with their surroundings burnt to the ground. The world’s rainforests are home to 50 million indigenous people and 30 to 40 million different types of animal species. According to the World Information Transfer, ‘Soy production has already destroyed 21 million hectares of forest in Brazil’. The destruction of rainforests goes hand-in-hand with global warming, with reports revealing that the loss of forests constitutes more to the world’s carbon emissions than the transport industry. The production of palm oil is also contributing massively towards deforestation, particularly in South East Asia, claiming the lives of many endangered species such as orang-utans. Palm oil, which is a type of vegetable oil derived from palm fruit, can be found in a wide range of products, including biscuits, chocolate and cereal – and it’s costing the environment tremendously. According to Greenpeace, over 70% ends up in food. They are also expecting the demand for palm oil to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. According to the organisation, ‘Indonesia already has 6 million hectares of palm oil plantations, but has plans for another 4 million by 2015’. The expansion of the plantations is not only consuming rainforests, but peatlands as well. Due to the high amount of carbon held in this type of land, when burnt it releases an extortionate amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 10 million hectares of Indonesia’s peatland have already been lost to feed the world’s ‘need’ for palm oil. Often listed as ‘vegetable oil’ on food labels, it is difficult to avoid consuming palm oil. However, by purchasing products which contain alternative vegetable oils, such as 100% sunflower oil, we can avoid this highly unethical substance. Large corporations also need to be held to account, as they are often the ones contributing to a corrupt industry of deforestation and animal genocide. Conventionally grown produce, whereby farms use pesticides and herbicides, is also having a detrimental impact on the environment – the chemicals often far-reach their intended location, infecting surrounding species, polluting the water and air, and even making its way into our own bodies. Despite strict regulations on the use of pesticides, it cannot always be guaranteed that enough

precaution is given when applying the chemical. The best way to avoid chemical-ridden crops is to stick to organic products.

going organic

For foods to be classified as ‘organic’, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants; up to 5% are allowed from a list of non-organic food ingredients. Artificial colouring and sweeteners are banned completely. Organic food products must be produced to strict EU standards and inspected by a registered body, such as the Soil Association – an organisation that puts planet-friendly food and farming at the heart of their work. “Our definition of organic farming recognises the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced,” says Natasha. “Organic farmers take a holistic, principled approach that respects and harnesses the power of natural processes to build positive health across the ecology of the farm.” Soil Association ensures that throughout the farming process artificial fertilisers are banned and fertile soil is developed by rotating crops and using compost, manure and clover. Farmers are to also follow strict regulations and do their utmost to protect the environment, as well as local wildlife. “If organic farming was common practice in the UK, we could offset at least 23% of agriculture’s current greenhouse emissions,” enthuses Natasha. “So, in short – buy organic food to make sure that you are being as kind as possible to the environment.” Vegans’ opinions and choices vary when purchasing their fresh produce. “Some vegans may see stockfree farming as the way forward for many reasons,” explains Samantha Calvert, the Vegan Society’s spokesperson. “Some vegans will be concerned that any imported fruit and vegetables are fair trade and others will wish to eat predominantly local or British fruit and vegetables.”

stock-free farming

Iain Tolhurst is the founder of Tolhurst Organic – a stock-free farm located in south Oxfordshire. Having worked on a conventional dairy farm for four years back in the seventies, seeing modern agriculture in its true light made him decide do things in a more efficient way. Iain has been a vegetarian for most of his life, with most of his family following suit. Tolhurst Organic was the first farm in the country to be registered as stock-free – meaning that the farm has had no grazing animals or animal inputs since 2004. “There are many benefits for the environment, particularly in terms of how the land is used,” explains Iain. “We use our land in a much more efficient way – our farm produces more food per hectare than on a normal organic farm. Plus, we don’t exploit animals, so there has been no suffering in order for us to get manure into our systems, which therefore benefits vegans too.” Iain explains that vegans often opt for conventionally grown

inspired times   issue 18  autumn 2013      23

produce rather than organic, because they are conscious that stock is used on organic farms to create manure. “However, buying conventional food isn’t the answer,” says Iain. In order to support the fertility of his own farm, Iain dedicates a third of his land to producing ‘green manure’; crops are uprooted and then dug back into the ground to provide the soil with nutrients. Iain places emphasis on the importance of seasonality. “It’s about eating what’s in-season and cooking within the limitations,” he reminds us. “Eating out of season means your impact on the planet is much higher because of fossil fuel usage, increased carbon emissions and the use of greenhouses. People have to accept that eating to the seasons is the least environmentally damaging way.” During autumn, Iain has around 35 different fruits and vegetables available, and in the winter, there is still an extensive list, including a variety of potatoes, cabbage, root crops, onions and an array of different squash. It isn’t until the ‘hungry gap’, between April and June, where there is slightly less availability.

a few alternatives...

Tim Barford, who has been eating hemp on a daily basis for the past 12 years, believes that it has provided him with the “missing link” to optimum health. “Hemp is a superb food for the mind body and soul in the 21st century,” enthuses Tim. Having been a vegan for 30 years, he recalls that he has only been truly happy with his diet since introducing hemp. Tim now runs his own hemp company, Yaoh – www. – which specialises in sourcing the finest hemp seeds. “It’s the combination of the fats and proteins which makes it so nutritional,” he explains. “I eat de-hulled seeds in smoothies, on salads and added to pasta and rice dishes. Hemp oil works in the same way – I always add it after cooking, as both the seeds and the oil are best used raw.” Hemp protein powder is also available – ideal for those vegetarians and vegans who lead an active life. Fat is extracted from the powder, in order to increase the protein-to-fat ratio, and then milled to provide a very fine powder that dissolves well. “It tastes lovely, nutty and filling,” confirms Tim. “The powder goes into a protein drink with juice, probiotics, spirulina, wheat and barley grass.” Vegusto – – supplies meat and cheese alternatives, which are 80% organic. All of the ingredients are sourced from Europe, including cashews, almonds and coconut oil. The vegan company prides itself of being free from palm oil, soya, sugar, artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives, as well as Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) free. “The affects of GMO on health and the environment is currently cause for great concern,” explains Patrick, spokesperson for Vegusto. “The movie Genetic Roulette would be a great place for anyone to start to find out about the health and ethical concerns of GMOs.” Patrick explains that there are many benefits to be had

24      inspired times   issue 18  autumn 2013

from going dairy-free. “Many people nowadays are allergic to dairy, even if they are not yet aware, and by going dairy free, people often notice their health and general wellbeing improve.” Whilst dairy from cows – both organic and non-organic farms – contains many active hormones, allergens and cholesterol, Vegusto’s dairy-free cheese is free from any of these elements and uses healthier fats from organic nuts and coconut oils. These oils are free from animal cholesterol, and are therefore far safer for the consumer.

what can we do?

There are many things we can do on an individual level to minimise our impact on the environment, from simply growing our own fruit and vegetables, to choosing products which are in-season. Restricting the amount of food we purchase – only buying as much as we intend to eat – will also help to reduce food-waste. Preparing too much food is also a major contributor to wastage. A great way to tackle this is freezing leftover meals, using remaining items in an alternative dish or ensuring the correct measurements are used. Over 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the UK, with almost 50% coming from our homes. According to Love Food Hate Waste – an organisation which provides tips on how to reduce wastage – ‘if we stop wasting food that could have been eaten, it would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road’. By also teaching children and young adults to be more sustainable, we can build the next generation’s awareness about how their food choices impact on the environment. Running a popular vegan food-van in Bristol, Louise Abel believes that cutting out meat and dairy is a massive step towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. “Simply changing our food choices can have a huge impact on the environment over time,” she says. “When shopping I try not to go crazy and buy lots of out-of-season products. I love making home-made veggie burgers or using seitan if I need a ‘meaty’ fix.” Seitan, made from wheat, is a meat substitute, alongside tofu, quorn and tempeh. Louise claims that becoming vegan four years ago was the best decision she has ever made, and it inspired her to set up the Spotless Leopard

– “It’s introduced me to such an amazing group of friends as well as given me my career – I never knew what I wanted to do with my life until I went vegan,” she exclaims. “Health-wise, I felt better within two weeks of cutting out dairy and I am much happier in myself.” Louise believes being vegan is about doing what you can and having as little negative impact on animals, and the world, as possible. “Slip ups aren’t the end of the world – it’s the choices you make the majority of the time that really add up.” Lizzi Shaw, who runs a website promoting vegan friendly places to eat in Dorset – – became a vegetarian when she was 14. “As a lifelong animal lover, it simply made sense to stop eating them,” she explains. Lizzi decided to take the leap last year to become a vegan. “Although I’d heard that the dairy and egg industry were cruel, it wasn’t until I read a magazine article that I realised quite how much killing and suffering were taking place in order for me to have my pint of milk or an omelette,” she explains. Lizzi didn’t think it would last, but has been amazed at how easy a lifestyle choice it is. “It may look like a restrictive diet, but in fact I eat a far more varied and healthy diet than I ever did when I was vegetarian. It forces you to eat much more consciously and think about what you’re putting into your body.” Lizzi recognises that there is a wonderfully supportive vegan community out there, both close to home and globally. “It’s been a tremendous help,” she says. “It’s not only a source of recipes and ideas, but also friendship and

encouragement and I’m thrilled that being vegan has given me the opportunity to meet these people.”

spreading the word

Festivals and events dedicated to vegetarians and vegans, are great for picking up ideas on how to take a more sustainable and ethical approach to the foods we consume. VegFestUK – founded ten years ago by Yoah’s Tim Barford – was set up to showcase to the public the best of living this lifestyle. The first ever event, which was held in Bristol, hosted 40 stalls and attracted 1,200 visitors. This year’s VegFestUK boasted 140 stalls and raked in an astounding 20,000 visitors! “It’s great to see so many young vegan businesses flourishing and so many people coming to the shows to see what it’s all about,” exclaims Tim. “The vegan lifestyle is getting more popular by the day, as we move towards a more plantbased diet again.” Taking the steps to eliminate meat, fish and dairy shows determination and a huge amount of compassion. To reinforce our desire to live a sustainable lifestyle, it’s imperative – as numbers choosing the herbivore life escalate – that our awareness of the food chain also increases. Plant-based diets should not cost the Earth, neither should our demand for food in the Western world be at the expense of developing countries. By choosing wisely, eating differently and wasting less, we can be as kind to the planet as its plants are to us.

FRACKING THE COUNTRY... Andy Melhuish unearths the latest news on fracking, a modern technique to extract fossil fuels

Quaint as they come, Balcombe is a West Sussex village suddenly making tremors across the world. What activities could bring dozens of protesters, including one MP, to set up camp and cause peaceful havoc in this otherwise sleepy region of the South Coast?

in the fracking process itself. Formaldehyde, acetic acids, citric acids, boric acids and many other toxic substances are all contained in the fracking fluid. Adding to concerns, each well requires 5 million gallons of local fresh water, which is 100 times more than traditional methods.

The company behind the Balcombe fracking site is Cuadrilla, who has been given the green-light by the government to search for oil and gas in the UK. Fracking is the common term for hydraulic fracturing, which was first patented in the US in 1939 as a way of obtaining unreachable oil and gas. With many decades of technological advancement, fracking now involves drilling deep into the ground then drilling sideways to the desired point in the rock – usually coal or shale. Once the well is in place a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is forced in to break apart the rock thus releasing the trapped payload, which is drawn back up and processed into fuel. The water-chemical mixture is also drawn back up and stored in steel containers until it can be disposed of. In the short term, the process seems like an excellent way to ensure our country’s energy needs are met for the next few years. But the economy vs. ecology argument is one that has been raging between politicians and green campaigners for years.

fracking sites

the cons

On the other side of the fence is Frack Off, a campaign network founded in 2011, who were a part of the protests at the Balcombe site. “A major issue is that the rock trapping the gas/oil is impermeable, meaning the desired fuel won’t flow to a single drilled well,” says Alex Llewellyn, a campaigner with Frack Off. “That’s why you end up with astronomical well-numbers in an area. In the UK, to get at the amount of gas companies are boasting about we’d be looking at tens of thousands of wells.” Faced with so many wells, what are the potential dangers we could encounter? “A big issue throughout the US and Australia has been water contamination,” clarifies Alex. “When you sink a steel well into the ground and cement it into place everything seems fine, but over time steel rusts and cement rots. When you do this a thousand times some wells leak immediately and, over time as they degrade, the number of leaking wells will increase.” Alex reminds us that in addition to the toxic materials already present in the shale, we also have to be concerned about the cocktail of chemicals the industry uses

26      inspired times  issue 18  autumn  2013

Fossil fuels have been prevalent in the news for decades,

referring usually to oil from the Middle East or the dangers of industrialisation of less-developed countries. But this is one of the first modern instances where the UK and the US have to face real-world environmental concerns on our own land. Cuadrilla has recently withdrawn an application to test drill for another 90 days at Balcombe, but that was not the only potential fracking site in the UK. Shale gas is currently being drilled for in the North West of England, with new sites approved and under construction in the South East and Wales. Besides vocal opposition from Green Party MP Caroline Lucas – including her famously taking part and getting arrested in the Balcombe protest – politicians throughout the land seem unanimously in favour of fracking, and West Sussex county council have been instructed to give no comment on the topic. Disturbing reports of minor earthquakes, related to existing drilling sites near the Blackpool coast, seem to add evidence that whatever goals the government and the companies have may cause substantially more problems than positives.

the future

As our oil and gas reserves appear to be running low, a wonderful new technique seemingly emerges to make a finite resource appear infinite. Fortuitous as it seems, we all need to keep asking questions. Concentrating on the financial aspect is risky even if the pay-off local communities have been promised is true, because it is an uncertain future that the beneficiaries will be walking into. Even top investors and heads of government have to live on the planet that they are creating. Money seems to be key in this discussion, and with so much of it floating around perhaps instead of temporary solutions, investment should be made into more sustainable power and renewable technologies. It is likely that more and more fracking sites will be planned for the UK, and certain that these will be met with opposition just like Balcombe. And as further issues rise to the surface, it is also certain that we all need to take a genuine interest and help shape the future of our country and the world.

driving greener


by Gauri Kangai

Slavery Footprint ‘Ethical’ doesn’t purely refer to resources, but our Earth’s people too. While we think we’re winning bargains and thriftily living ‘on the cheap’, our consumption defies Newton’s Third Law: our demands have greater ramifications at the source. Often brands and retailers market themselves as selling ethical goods, but we cannot always trust this; educating ourselves on ethical retailing indicators is the answer. A short online survey at assesses your lifestyle to calculate your approximate ‘slavery footprint’, specifically what factors in your life are contributing most. Similarly, brings to light important indicators that determine how ethical our clothes suppliers are, right from sewer to our ‘favourite’ retailer. These two valuable resources can show us where we can improve our consumption habits – for the better of others’ lives.

Rubbee Drive: Electrify your Bike Your decision to travel eco, and effort to take exercise by cycling, is about to get better! Rubbee Drive – – is a recently introduced device to give sustainable, electrical power to your humble bicycle. A compact little invention, that simply uses good old traditional friction, attaches against your ordinary bike wheel. Selfboosting its battery pack with electrical energy, you can glory at the green life with this sustainably pumped up speed!

Energy Consumption Falling We may feel progress is stagnating in our society’s efforts to dwindle energy consumption. However, individual efforts are indeed changing. According to recent 2011 census, UK household energy consumption has dropped 25% since 2005 (ONS 2011) – a landmark year when climate change and waning fossil fuel concerns finally became mass-greeted with sincerity. While this decline is partly attributed to rising energy prices, there is definite better awareness of the implications of our consumptions. Loft and cavity wall insulation and more efficient boilers are increasingly installed, and newly introduced ‘energy rating scales’ for appliances and even properties also help us to make informed decisions. Despite the ‘catch-22’ of energy hikes austerely reducing low-income households’ ability to consume, becoming more energy conscious is a positive.

We know many of us are heavily reliant on the infamous automobile, and as colder, wetter months approach, this habitude can only worsen. On a rock-bottom budget and with simple changes in driving techniques, you can transform your carbon-emitting car into a better fuel-efficient and ultimately greener vehicle. A great way we can travel greener is by traveling together. Carpooling is becoming ever popular and stimulates a great community too. A well revered lift sharing network – – offsets drivers’ fuel costs by sharing empty seats with 600,000 paying passengers every month. You can choose exactly the rides you wish to take based on people’s profiles, with even a ladies only option. £24 can be earned for every 100 miles, and most importantly, 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide have been saved since BlaBlaCar began in 2011. If carpooling doesn’t suit, ‘old-school’ driving tricks are as effective as ever. Avoid ‘jackrabbit starts’ by accelerating smoothly and similarly slowing down. Ensure your brake pads are not wearing down – notably indicated by a squealing sound – as better stopping power reduces fuel use. Reduce your speed, but aim for higher gears as soon as possible; above 60mph, fuel efficiency rates drop. Smarter driving is both good for our environment and good for our pockets: Energy Saving Trust says “the average UK driver could save between £300 and £350 each year”. Find more tips at and when valeting time comes, look out for a local waterless carwash, or do-it-yourself with an Eco Touch kit, to be purchased cheaply on Amazon. However old your model of car, both keeping your tyre pressures pumped up and vacuum cleaning your air filter to clear dirt and dust, raises your mileage by 7%. A particular efficiency point is a car’s spark plug that combusts the fuel. Replacing these with improved versions (under £10), not only increases fuel mileage but reduces toxic fumes physically being emitted. For a more technical insight, visit and for general tips on greener lifestyle habits, follow @PlanetGreen on Twitter! Ultimately, we all know that limiting car usage is the golden rule to going green.

“Never, no never, did nature say one thing and wisdom say another.” Edmund Burke inspired times  issue 18  autumn  2013      27

inspiring individuals Charlotte Biszewski brings our attention to the tireless work of activist and social campaigner Dan Glass. Standing up against injustice, Dan’s talent lies not only in the way he highlights the cause but also in his ability to empower others. Life is beautiful. Easily forgotten when overwhelmed with the drudge of inequality, adrift in a sea of austerity and drowned down by an increasingly elevated rich. Shining a light through all this proverbial fog is Dan Glass, an inspired individual who refuses to pass quietly. Social campaigner, writer, activist, and an incessant thorn in the side of those in power, his blog is rich in an array of movements, projects, community events and education programmes. With so much going on for this dynamic individual it is a wonder he finds time to sleep, let alone an interview. Long term dedication and hard work are his defining features, and for 10 years out of 29 on this planet, Dan has campaigned his way through a wide spectrum of social agendas. During his environmental activism with the Plane Stupid network he famously super-glued himself to Gordon Brown; a headstrong stunt which drew mass attention to the successful Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign. Named as a leading Guardian youth climate activist, Dan has also worked with youth groups, asylum seekers, Holocaust descendants and HIV affected people – just to name a few. “You begin to see how environmental issues have overlaps with racism, poverty, gender issues and all belong to a wider political structure,” explains Dan, not ready to sit and accept it obediently. “It’s about getting out of our comfort zones, building empathy and understanding and being critically conscious about a whole range of issues.” Fighting out against wrongdoing and oppression is a drive which is rooted deep within him. Growing up in East Barnet, he reports his background as average, however one aspect had a huge impact on him. Recalling the afternoons spent with his grandparents, all four being holocaust survivors, Dan witnessed first-hand accounts and insights into true suffering. “I was brought up with an inbuilt sense of the injustice in the world and if you are lucky enough to do something about it you should,” determines Dan. “If it wasn’t for the people who helped them they wouldn’t have survived.” Their voices still rise up from his childhood, driving his actions as an adult. Later experiences during the free-party scene of the 90s surely influence more playful aspects of Dan’s campaigning. Raves for Thatcher’s generation meant a mass of dissatisfied youth self-organising a good time. Dan not only felt this sense of community was drawn into a political wave, he recalls the anti-arms trade movement posters which plastered walls at squat parties. Education is a powerful tool for promoting change and empowering our communities. “People have lost all faith in those who are supposed to be there to represent and look after them,” says Dan. “Young people don’t need babysitting, they need to be listened to.” His attendance at the Training for Transformation


inspired times  issue 18  autumn 2013

programme in South Africa has equipped him with skills in education that he transfers to work in the UK. Originated by Anne Hope, Sally Timmel and Steve Biko, the programme aims to empower marginalised groups with the necessary tools to instigate change. It has provided a sturdy backbone and mind-set to the anti-apartheid movement of the 60s and numerous revolutions globally. “It’s all about giving the individual the strength, mind and heart to break from the oppression and reinstating a sense of pride,” confirms Dan, with obvious passion. “Promoting change in our society is not a ‘quick fix’ solution.” This ethos is evident, with past students of ‘So We Stand’ – his Summer School which focuses on community and social justice – organising their own skill-share workshops. The participants are coordinating ‘Let Freedom Ring’ which will take place this winter. ‘Shafted?!’ his most recent project is a performance piece driven to highlight HIV and its surrounding issues for infected and affected people in the UK. An issue that for many of us in the UK goes overlooked and undiscussed, the taboo and discrimination that surrounds the virus is something which the performance seeks to challenge. Recent changes to the NHS and a lack of education means that there has been a rise in the epidemic. Similarly to many of Dan’s actions the performance portrays serious issues with joy and liberation, putting a spotlight on bravery and exploring the hardships of those affected. Showing UK-wide this winter, a bizarre twist on ‘stars in their eyes’ – I say no more, but it must be seen to be fully appreciated. Full details of dates and venues can be found on Dan’s website – Dan has the optimism to see past injustice and focus on opportunities. Undeniably charismatic, and an emotive orator, he can reach out and bridge the ever-growing gap. He inspires you to find your own talent, be it creative expression, logical thought, or bravery. Listening to him speak, I was slightly in awe, envious of his powerful way with words and infected by a deep-rooted passion to engage with his causes. We need someone to shout louder than any headlines denouncing asylum seekers or blaming benefit frauds, and that is his skill. Whereas many may opt to switch off and switch on the great British, strictly-come-dine with my x-factor, it is refreshing to meet an individual who sees inequality, acknowledges oppression and will not only stand-up but dance circles round an unjust authority.

creative t informativetuplifting

Inspired Times magazine is now online as we spread our word via the digital medium. Inspired Times is a positive lifestyle magazine and is published online 4 times a year. Eco & holistic living, community, creativity, seasonal recipes & much more. We look at the brighter side of life!

Like us on Facebook We’d love to keep you up-to-date with fabulous events, inspiring tales & lots of other uplifting news.

Find us on Facebook & Twitter for Inspiration & Offers! become a fan of inspired times magazine on facebook

follow @inspiredtimes on twitter


Inspired Times Issue 18  

Autumn Issue: eco & holistic lifestyles.

Inspired Times Issue 18  

Autumn Issue: eco & holistic lifestyles.