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20 questions with… John Fleetwood

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John Fleetwood answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.

John Fleetwood is also a former financial adviser and was a co-founder of the Cochabamba Project (the UK Society that funds ArBolivia) in 2009. Aside from his role within ArBolivia, he provides research on CSR issues to financial institutions engaged in promoting socially responsible investments and is the founder of 3dinvesting.com.

We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission?

To be the person I was designed to be, to experience life in all its fullness and to help make the world a better place

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A weather man – I still take a keen interest in the weather.

How would your friends describe you?

Probably as a bit of a nutcase for my feats of endurance in the hills.

What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?

Doing a geography degree and looking at the bigger picture and the impact of man

Who or what inspires you?

Anyone that is wholehearted and committed to serving others.  I was inspired by Satish Kumar’s book on walking across the world without any money.  As a Christian, I’m also inspired by Jesus.

Describe your perfect day.

Pink sunrise above a sea of clouds, back for a buffet breakfast with the family looking out at the sea, good book, snorkelling in a warm sea, game of tennis, homemade produce for lunch, more of the same after lunch, run before dinner to see the sunset on top of a rocky spire, candlelit dinner with my wife  looking over the ocean, theatre performance after dinner.

What do you see when you look out your window at home?

200 year old slate roofs on a mill cottage, a wooded gorge containing the River sprint and the fields leading up to the Eastern fells.

What do you like spending your money on?

Outdoor kit, camera gear, youth hostels, books, maps and quality bread

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Sea and mountains combined – West coast of Scotland, Norway

What’s your favourite book?

The bible.  Its a much misunderstood book which only unfolds after considering the context and the book as a whole.  But if we are applying Desert Island Discs rules, I’d take a Dickens novel – maybe Pickwick Papers.

What’s your favourite film?

I’m not the sort of person to watch a film umpteen times over, but I think the film that left the biggest impact was ‘Hubble’ – the 3D was incredible and you are left reaching out for the stars.

You’re elected prime minister with a thumping majority. What’s the first thing you do?

I guess elect a cabinet, but after that seek to channel more money into productive infrastructure.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?

Brian Cox – he’d tell me all about the stars which I could explore in my mind’s eye when we were bored on a little desert island.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?

Be content with who you are.  Play it safe – life is too short for that.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not taking risks earlier in life.

What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?

Consume less.

What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?

Love your neighbour as yourself.

What’s your favourite quote?

TS Eliot – “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Same as now but more time doing creative things.

And the bonus questions: how would you like to be remembered? – what will they carve on your gravestone?

Someone who made the most of what they’d be given for good.

To read other 20 questions with, click here.

Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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how climate change affect our lives
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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