Lori Heaford uncovers Parrott’s passion for punk.
Julian Parrott is an interesting man: an independent financial adviser specialising in ethical investment; a keen activist in the development of ethical finance; and a punk. If the punk era taught us anything, it’s the value of getting involved to make a difference – and Julian Parrott is doing just that.
Julian lived in birthplace London and Gibraltar before moving to Scotland aged 10. As a teenager in Dunfermline, Fife, in the 1970s punk rock enabled him to make sense of social issues such as unemployment and industrial unrest, the Vietnam War and nuclear threat, class divides and racism. As Julian says, genuinely political bands like The Clash pioneered “left-wing thinking for a generation”. It’s certainly shaped the course of his life so far.
With a degree in Business Studies from Napier College, Edinburgh, Julian joined Dunfermline Building Society, in time becoming branch manager and relocating to his current home, Perth. The fit wasn’t quite right though – too much schmoozing – so he switched to the life and pensions side of the industry in the 1990s.
It was a pretty grim period to be in financial sales – targets were all-important, irrespective of the quality of the advice. Nobody thought about the ethics of how money was invested. After a decade of being immersed in such cynical financial practice, Julian wanted a way to align his work with his political values.
His burgeoning interest in ethical investment led him to join the Ethical Investment Cooperative (EIC) in Edinburgh, which offered a regulatory umbrella to five sole-trader advisers working in different parts of Scotland. But, although the idea was great, there was no unity among the advisers’ business models.
So in 2005, together with colleague Martin Wight, Julian set up Ethical Futures – an ethical company that helps people plan for their futures. A core value of the company is doing right by its clients, even if that means forgoing immediate income. And its purist approach is proving popular – Ethical Futures advises only on ethically-screened investments, with no mainstream unscreened funds at all, yet its business is both profitable and stable.
His involvement in ethical investment doesn’t stop there, though. Not only does he liaise with leading NGOs in Scotland, but he also chairs the national Ethical Investment Association (EIA), where he helps steer adviser activities, and sits on the board of directors of UKSIF (the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance association), where he has strategic influence over the future direction of the ethical finance debate.
Julian shares his home with his wife Catherine, deputy head of a local state primary school, and two cats named Bella (after Belladrum festival in Inverness) and Skye (after a visit there, to carbon-offsetting company Future Forests’ plantation, Rebel Wood, established in honour of early backer Joe Strummer).
A fan of both films and music, Julian’s tastes are, unsurprisingly, left-field. Musically, it’s a varied mix, from bebop to dub reggae – not forgetting ‘old skool punk’, of course. He gets to gigs when he can and watches art house cinema – though you can forget the popcorn, nachos and hotdogs, they’re his pet hate.
Making the most of living in Scotland, Julian also takes his mountain bike out regularly and enjoys the occasional round of golf.
Though he has achieved a lot, Julian’s quick to point out that there’s much left to do. As a minimum 40 to 50 percent of all invested funds in the UK should operate under an ethical mandate – currently just 1 to 2 percent do. Globally, Julian warns of the risk of ethical standards becoming diluted to enable investment in China and other developing nations.
Happily, ethical investment is evolving, with growing interest from fund managers in both thematic and enviro-technology funds. Ethical considerations are becoming increasingly mainstream. But, for Julian, we still need to pay more attention to social and human rights issues, by creating mechanisms that develop investment towards social and community enterprise, giving people real control over their own lives.
In Ethical Futures, Julian has created a sustainable and replicable business model. He’s pleased that, with rising public enthusiasm, he is able to offer clients a wide range of ethical investment options to meet their needs. Speaking of Ethical Futures, Julian tells me: “It’s really satisfying to be able to make a living doing something that you believe in on your own terms. We are convinced that with good advice you really can make your money change your world.”
What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?
A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.
When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.
New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.
This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.
Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.
With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.
Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.
The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.
Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.