Rachel Horne interviews Emily Hannah Jones about the group Be Conscious.
Words: Emily Hannah Jones
Photography: Warren Draper
How did Be Conscious come about?
We kept going out on woodland walks and seeing how much litter was around and basically got tired of seeing it and decided to do something about it. We always picked up as much litter as we could already and decided to take a step further and make a group page.
So where’s your page and how do people get involved?
It’s a Facebook page that is open to the public to join if they feel inclined. It’s going slow which is why I need help making it more public to get people involved more often. I make an event every few weeks and people decide whether they want to attend or not. People are quite quick to complain about the litter yet when it comes down to it they aren’t doing much about it which is why I thought group meet-ups would be a good idea.
It’s a brilliant idea, there are 9000 people on Clean Up Doncaster, wonder how many people get involved in physically cleaning up the town? I know some people will and really care, but literally a few hours’ litter pick means you can natter about Doncaster’s problems whilst actually doing something to make a difference.
What areas have you cleaned up so far? Do you feel like you are making a difference? Or does it seem overwhelming? Is a lot of it plastic waste? I know plastic has its uses but when it comes to consumable goods we don’t need it. Each time you see a piece of plastic, I just think what the f*@k are we doing. That’s gonna take 1000 years to decompose.
I decided to start the first one at High Fields park near me which is Woodlands area, it was really successful that first day with around 10 people helping and we got 25 or so bags of trash which were collected by the council as I have a number to ring for collections. We also got a lot of recognition from people while they walked past but didn’t seem like they wanted to join in even though they were unhappy with the amount of trash they see. The woodlands in that particular park are atrocious and accumulates a lot of trash which is why I wanted to keep a focus on it for a while but then fast forward into the future events and less people were showing up to help out.
I would definitely agree and say some places can be overwhelming with the amount that people litter and you feel as if your never going to make a difference but always still have hope that things will change and more people will get involved.
It’s because it’s hard work and relentless, and it’s demoralising seeing the rubbish reappear again. I think to really understand the crisis we are in you need to know how things decompose, everyone should be composting waste at home. When you compost your waste you understand that’s the way things should be done and consumable plastic waste is utter madness.
Yes the majority of trash we pick up is plastic i.e. bottles and straws which are the most harmful to our environment. Plastic isn’t decomposable so it will be there forever. I often think that if people have the time to go out deep into nature and throw all their trash around why can’t they take the time and go to the appropriate place.
How did you get into all this? What motivates you personally?
Yes, I’ve always been interested in the environment since being a little girl so it was just inevitable for me to blossom into an environmentalist. I hate to see trash everywhere and felt the urge to clean Doncaster up. I feel a lot of people have lost their connection to nature and how important it Is for us. Therefore, I want to be able to teach people everything I’ve learned and get people to become connected once more, not only with nature but ourselves and each other.
Also, I became vegan in January 2016 and have never looked back.It was very empowering to know I could make a change just starting with the food on my plate. I kept seeing events online and reading more a more into veganism and how animal agriculture affects our planet. Therefore, I felt the need to do more which led me to becoming a part of Doncaster Animal Action and going to vigils and protests. I love the people I’ve met through this amazing movement and seeing it grow and become more worldwide is a blessing.
Have you studied ecology or anything this field?
Everything I’ve learnt is through experience and lots and lots of research, nobody should need a degree for being an environmentalist just a love for nature and the urge for change.
When will the next pick take place?
Found out on the Doncaster Be Conscious group HERE.