‘When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young’ – Maya Angelou
My name’s Portia and I’m currently studying a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University.
Let me begin by saying I am no expert. I have no expert opinion, nor no expert advice – only my own judgment and belief, formed through constant research and reading. And with plenty of experts online there are plenty of outlets that allow us to become informed on subjects and matters we are passionate about.
Among other hobbies I am an avid reader, and it is through literature I was able to educate myself on various topics concerning the world we inhabit, which in turn empowered me make educated decisions about how I conduct myself in life and the life ethos I try to adhere to daily.
Around the age of 16 I became more actively aware of social and environmental injustices that occur all across the world. From campaign advertisements appealing for charitable funds to be sent half way across the globe to support infrastructure for fresh running water, to emaciated bodies stacking up in hospitals, I couldn’t figure out how fundamental basic rights were denied to those who were simply born into a life of deprivation, and how two doors down from my house, my neighbours at that time had just installed a swimming pool?! The absolute blinding clash of the injustice of geographical and political circumstance thrummed through me. How could this be? As soon as I opened my mind and eyes to the social and environmental issues surrounding all of us, I couldn’t un-see it. From the origins of where the palm oil that lay hidden in my cereal, to where and who made the shoes I discarded without a second thought to the human cost, I realised that individually we all support exploitation of those with very little, and sustain those who profit at the very top.
One night I watched a documentary called ‘Cowspiracy’ and overnight my lifestyle changed. I woke up to injustices in all forms. I read research books on gender bias and gender inequality, I researched about environmental injustices and climate change and educated myself in all things that centered around grouping and segregating people based on race, sexuality, gender, religion and multiculturalism. I started a degree at the Open University to study English Literature and Creative Writing, and it is through education I began to feel empowered. I felt empowered to speak up regarding my views on these topics and hopefully, through my writing I can instill a sense of empowerment to encourage those who seek to educate themselves on these topics as well.
I’m going to be writing about current affairs that affect our daily lives both on a conscious and subconscious level; sustainable living, what gender bias is and how gender bias and systematic gender bias can affect women on a daily basis, environmental aspects such as climate change, pollution, the evolution of the human diet and how individually we need to know our rights as a society on how to combat social and environmental challenges.
Like I said at the start, I’m no expert. But I hope that I can inspire or rekindle a passion within you via this blog to start your own journey into environmental and social education.